A recent article in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers validly emphasized that debates about the Anthropocene need to recognize a diverse range of perspectives, worldviews and forms of knowledge.

The authors of this commentary argue that in doing so, the article mischaracterized scholarship on earth system governance as being antithetical to a critical and pluralistic stance on the Anthropocene. In this commentary, the authors address key concerns about the article: selective and misleading quotations regarding the earth system governance literature’s diversity; unwarranted insinuations that juxtapose the implications of this literature with those of slavery and holocausts; and neglect of the breadth and diversity of scholarship on earth system governance.

The authors underscore the need for scholarly debates on the Anthropocene to be informed by a balanced and rigorous assessment of existing scholarship, and for a constructive dialogue between global and locally situated ways of understanding the earth.