Sarah Hughes

Losing Eden: Ruskin and the Anthropocene in the Veneto and England

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: anthropocene, John Ruskin, sacredness, spatiality, spiritualspatial, green-theology.

John Ruskin, nearly two centuries before Ghosh’s (2016) call for action, would likewise struggle with his Victorian readers to convey his ecological and conservational concerns in his writings on the Venetian Lagoon and the English Lake District. Drawing on spatial theory and theology, this article will focus on Ruskin’s unique sanctification of the natural and manmade spaces that he observed being spoiled and destroyed by humanity’s touch, in an attempt to convey to his readers, the marked need to take accountability for their anthropogenic actions. This article will further focus on how Ruskin used his descriptions of these fragile landscapes and spaces to forewarn us of the imminent repercussions of our evolving Anthropocene age on the spaces and places we hold sacred. Ruskin recognised that for Venice, a city that maintains a dependency with its ecological and hydrological environments, the impact of the environmental crisis was dire – as we now know, if the world cannot radically reduce its carbon footprint, climate models show that sea-level rise is most likely to inundate Venice by 2100. This article will address how Ruskin, a spiritualspatial thinker, forewarned us in his writings of the imminent repercussions of our evolving Anthropocene age on both our planet and our very souls.

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