From Passengers to Crew: Introductory Reflections

Harrington, C., Lecavalier, E. & Shearing, C. 2017. From Passengers to Crew: Introductory Reflections. Crime, Law and Social Change: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

12 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2019 Last revised: 14 Sep 2019

See all articles by Cameron Harrington

Cameron Harrington

Durham University - School of Government and International Affairs

Emma Lecavalier

Independent

Clifford Shearing

University of Cape Town; University of Montreal, School of Criminology; University of New South Wales; University of Toronto

Abstract

It is only very recently that we humans have come to recognize our place on this Earth. As Marshall McLuhan once put it: “On Spaceship Earth there are no passengers; everybody is a member of the crew” (McLuhan, 1974, p. 50). While we have never been simply passengers, our status as crew has mattered little for almost all of human history; to paraphrase Harari (2014) we have been decidedly “insignificant” crew members. This changed drastically with our capture of fossil fuels, or “ancient sunlight” as Hartmann (1999) calls it, to drive the machine of successive industrial revolutions (Marks, 2006). Thanks to these developments, the Earth has transitioned out of the Holocene and into what is now being termed the Anthropocene, an age in which our status as crew members is hugely significant. We have become “geological actors” (Chakrabarty, 2009) whose actions have shaped, and are reshaping, the systems that have kept Spaceship Earth on its course for some 10,000 years. The consequences of this new era are both profoundly global and acutely local: with the pushing of our planetary boundaries, safe spaces for humans and other species are shrinking, giving way to less favourable and less stable planetary conditions for the lifeforms evolved in the previous Holocene era.

Suggested Citation

Harrington, Cameron and Lecavalier, Emma and Shearing, Clifford D, From Passengers to Crew: Introductory Reflections. Harrington, C., Lecavalier, E. & Shearing, C. 2017. From Passengers to Crew: Introductory Reflections. Crime, Law and Social Change: An Interdisciplinary Journal., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3416574 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3416574

Cameron Harrington (Contact Author)

Durham University - School of Government and International Affairs ( email )

Durham, DH1 3HP
United Kingdom

Emma Lecavalier

Independent ( email )

Clifford D Shearing

University of Cape Town ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

HOME PAGE: http://www.publiclaw.uct.ac.za/pbl/staff/cshearing

University of Montreal, School of Criminology ( email )

C.P. 6128 succursale Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada

University of New South Wales ( email )

Sydney
Australia

University of Toronto ( email )

Robarts Library
130 St. George Street, Room 8001
Toronto, ON M5S 1A5
Canada
416-978-3720 Ext. 234 (Phone)
416-978-4195 (Fax)

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