Books / Environment / Ethics/Rights / Psychology / Science

The call for anthropophilia to solve global issues

I’m impressed by Andrew Revkin’s contribution in John Brockman’s “This Will Make You Smarter”. Revkin, an environmental journalist for the New York Times, suggests the need for us to accept our humanness to find constructive solutions to solve global challenges. He calls this anthropophilia.

I propose this word as shorthand for a rigorous and dispassionate kind of self-regard, even self-appreciation, to be employed when individuals or communities face consequential decisions attended by substantial uncertainty and polarizing disagreement.

He goes on to point out the pointless debate that usually arise in conversations on world problems.

Historically, many efforts to propel a durable human approach to advancement were shaped around two organizing ideas: “Woe is me” and “Shame on us,” with a good dose of “Shame on you” thrown in. The problem? Woe is paralytic, while blame is both divisive and often misses the real target.

What’s been missing too long is an effort to fully consider, even embrace, the human role within nature and – perhaps more important still – to consider our own inert nature as well.

Rather insightful of him, don’t you think?

I like his article because I can relate to it. As humans, as life-forms that are part of nature, it is only natural that we act responsibly. I’ve mentioned before that I dislike calling myself an environmentalist as I have come to realise that that term carries a lot of emotional baggage. Once you call yourself an environmentalist, skeptics and cynics who view environmentalism as a fad or maybe worse, view it as a new-age religion, will shut their minds off from anything you say. And, I dislike that some label themselves as environmentalists as a sign that they are good or highly moral beings. In fact, I think it’s because of these people who preach that they are “good” for trying to “save the earth” and those who pollute as “bad” that gives the green movement its bad rep. In a previous post, I explained the reasons we should stop using the phrase “Save the Earth”.

Anyone interested in changing our mindset for the sake of humanity must read the full-length article of Andrew Revkin’s “Anthropophilia” along with Daniel Goleman’s “Anthropocene Thinking” and Scott D. Sampson’s “Interbeing”. They can be found in, but nothing beats reading these ideas on paperback.

Have you got your “A-ha!” feeling today? If not, go to and read an article Don’t end the day without learning something new.


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