The Probiotic Turn and the Green Rebranding of Cattle in the Anthropocene
A turn is underway in the probiotic approaches. Recalibrating modern antibiotic approaches and heading off their unintended consequences, the probiotic uses life to manage life, connecting the microbial with the planetary. This keynote lecture given by Jamie Lorimer gives critical insight into these interventions and their implications, and is part of OSEH's environmental humanities festival on the 10th of June.
About the event
The promise and pitfalls of this probiotic approach will be illustrated through the example of cattle. Cattle have been heavily implicated in global heating and the biodiversity crisis due to their high emissions profile and ecological hoofprint. Amidst calls for a dramatic reduction in the global herd, the livestock industry is rebranding cattle as tools for geoengineering capable of reducing methane, sequestering carbon in the soil, and rewilding ecologies. Through modifications to their internal and external metabolic profiles cattle are to be repurposed as planetary keystone species, modulating diverse earth systems to deliver ‘nature-based solutions’. The talk gives a brief flavour of these interventions and critically examines what the imply for the lives of cows, farmers and consumers in the Anthropocene.
About the presenter
Jamie Lorimer is Professor of Environmental Geography at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. His research explores public understandings of nature and how these come to shape environmental governance. Past projects have explored the histories, politics and cultures of wildlife conservation ranging across scales from elephants to the microbiome. Jamie is the author of Wildlife in the Anthropocene: Conservation after Nature (Minnesota, 2015) and The Probiotic Planet: Using Life to Manage Life (Minnesota, 2020). His current research explores transitions in agriculture in the context of growing concerns about the relationships between farming, biodiversity loss and global heating.
This event is part of our Environmental Humanities Week. From 7 to 10 June, the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities cordially invites you to a series of events to celebrate the exciting work happening in the field here at UiO and beyond. Exciting keynote lectures, panel discussions, presentations on the OSEH Collaboratories, a pop-up exhibition, music, and more. The events are free and open to all! We look forward to seeing you!