Southeast Asia's Anthropocene: The Austronecene
Across the globe, humanity’s impact on the planet is vast and varied. When we talk about the Anthropocene, many people think of rapid development and overexploitation. Southeast Asia’s Anthropocene is the result of becoming world’s major resource for fueling consumption-based economy.
Since the 19th century, developed nations have taken what they want from Southeast Asia, creating a biodiversity crisis along the way. Businesses from other countries come to Southeast Asia to collect resources like silver, gold, tin, and other rare earthen materials. Their oceans are fished to near extinction. Vast expanses of native forests are destroyed to make way for palm oil production. Any natural resource, whether it be timber, coconut, or rubber, becomes commodified, packaged, and shipped.
And no one seems to care about what's left behind. Now, Southeast Asia's biodiversity crisis is reaching its peak, and we refuse to stand by and watch.
80% of our world's remaining natural resources lie in the tropics of the middle earth—Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and Southern America. And we care about what happens to these natural resources, the places they lie, and the communities surrounding them.
The Austronecene is a neologism depicting Southeast Asia's human-driven biodiversity crisis. It encompasses Southeast Asia's Anthropocene from various perspectives and envisions alternative futures that can impact the region. The goal of the Austronecene is to shift how we see development.
Rapid urbanisation with consumption-based economies is not the path forward to a better future, and economic development is no longer a useful metric for success. If the cost of economic development is the expense of our natural resources, then this idea of progress should not and cannot be our goal. In reality, our planet's natural resources are finite. True development, progress, and success come not from economic metrics but environmental ones.
The Austronecene encompasses these ideas and embodies our values of conservation over exploitation. Consider ending Southeast Asia's biodiversity crisis by committing to alternative futures that benefit Southeast Asians, Earthlings, and Non-humans.