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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

The Hermaphrodite Effect

The Hermaphrodite Effect

According to research carried out by scientists from the Columbia Environmental Research Centre, sewage water containing hormones and pesticides caused by human consumption is leading fish all over America to change gender. Within this phenomenon, male fish are turning partly-female, and are starting to produce female eggs. What it is exactly that is causing the gender-ambiguity in specific fish, and at what rate, is still to be proven. However, the scientists argue that part of the reason comes from hormones, such as birth control pills.

One might wonder how exactly this phenomenon can be understood in terms of being ‘Next Nature’, but it seems to reflect ‘nature caused by human culture’ in the sense that it perhaps lies exactly in between our ability to control ‘old nature’ and turn it into products (birth control pills) and the phenomenon of culture (the common use of extra hormones) getting so out of control that it leads to unexpected consequences.

Via: www.sueddeutsche.de

Discussion

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  1. I thought this link would be right up your alley at Next Nature – the Lava Project, in which cooling lava was stamped with an imprint of the year …

  2. Steve

    I was referring to the link I left in my name above:

    http://blog.longnow.org/2009/10/31/the-lava-project/

  3. I have heard of this phenomenon before but with chemicals form certain plastics reported to be causing the effect.

    Saying it’s caused by birth control pills got me thinking/rambling: is this propoganda by pro-lifers and Catholics ie those against birth control? That’s what my immediate thought was anyway. The first birth control pills were more concentrated and more potent than they needed to be. Why didn’t that effect things? Perhaps because more women are using The Pill now more than ever?

    If it really is birth control pills causing more female hormones in our waterways, then we need special processing of our sewage to destroy the hormones in it.

  4. Well, I don’t think that this is necessarily pro-life propaganda…

    First of all, the research is still in progress, and it has yet to prove many aspects, such as why exactly certain fish species are affected, while others are not. Furthermore, as written in the post, the changes are expected to derive from both pesticides and hormones. The focus on hormones was emphasized with the aim of bringing into discussion a perspective on the issue in relation to next nature as a concept, in an attempt to negotiate the boundaries of the concept itself.

    But it is indeed true that there is a growing use of hormones, not just in the form of birth control pills, so it is worth keeping in mind, what that might potentially do to the life systems around us…