Selling Anthropocene space: situated adventures in sustainable tourism
The Anthropocene is a proposed technical term for a new geological timeframe, but it is also a conceptual tool with the potential to redefine the stakes of contemporary environmental politics. One facet that is often overlooked is that the Anthropocene is a concept with commercial potential, even if the term itself has not been widely adopted. This article presents an investigation of the commercial potential of the Anthropocene idea through the lens of self-described sustainable tourism ventures in The Bahamas. These examples demonstrate some of the ways in which Anthropocene imaginaries participate in the recreation, redesign, and rebranding of specific spaces as emergent “tourism products”, specifically the small island farm and the anthropogenic coral reef. The goal is twofold: (1) to explore the symbolic and material creativity of the Anthropocene idea as its themes are used to extend capitalist innovation, and (2) to examine the Anthropocene idea as a strategy that builds upon existing histories of inequality to enable transnational accumulation in particular locales. As a situated adventure, this article articulates a reflexive mode of political ecological research for the Anthropocene that is equipped to critically articulate emergent practices at the intersection of postcolonial tourism, environmental conservation, and sustainable development.