Abstract

Humankind is currently confronted with what some biologists call the sixth mass extinction of species in the history of life on Earth, and the first one triggered by humans. This essay places the narrative that usually accompanies scientific accounts of biodiversity loss in relation to the long tradition of environmentalist stories about the decline of nature. It demonstrates how elegiac and tragic story templates turn accounts of the decline of a particular species into tools for a broader critique of modernization processes, and explores an alternative, comedic narrative template that approaches extinction in the context of evolution, contingency, and experiment.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6520
Print ISSN
1063-1801
Pages
pp. 49-72
Launched on MUSE
2011-04-23
Open Access
No
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