As I mentioned in the introduction
to this project, the Ecocene requires a shift towards a probiotic planet.
I came across the concept from the book of just this title by Jamie Lorimer. He describes it as follows:
“I use the adjective probiotic in an expansive sense to describe human interventions that use life to manage life, working with biological and geomorphic processes to deliver forms of human, environmental, and even planetary health. Going probiotic goes well beyond a preference for live yogurt; it links a range of efforts that aim to change the composition of biophysical systems to modulate the rhythms and intensities of their ecological interactions”.
Yet, the probiotic planet also includes live yogurt. It spreads from regenerating the microbe in our microbiome to regenerating the land on Earth. Of course, the ecology of a nature reserve differs from the ecology of the human body.
Regeneration and Rewilding
Regenerating is often associated with rewilding parts of the planet untouched by humans. And in which nature can take over again. Yet, wilderness and pristine nature became obsolete in the Anthropocene. There is nothing left unchanged by humans. Moreover, separating humans from wilderness only increases the divide between humans and nature. Humans are part of nature, so they are also part of the wild. It is usually much more comfortable making space for awkward natures out there than for me to make my body a home for nonhumans whose proximity might engender some discomfort.
In the Ecocene, the fates of nature and people are deeply intertwined. The probiotic planet thus doesn’t fence nature in a natural park. To use life to manage life, we bring the wilds in our gut and our living room. We make it part of our environment and part of our daily life. For example, instead of cleansing ourselves from bacteria and fungi, we ask how to live in a symbiotic relationship with them. We serve them as a home and our body’s ecosystem. In return, they help us by keeping our body’s ecosystem healthy.