Learning to Die in the Anthropocene

Learning to Die in the Anthropocene
Reflections on the End of a Civilization

New York Times oped "I've said goodbye to normal, and you should, too"
Jan 25, 2021

"Climate change is upending the world as we know it, and coping with it demands widespread, radical action."

Hong Kong Review of Books

" . . . Scranton's book is a very well researched investigation into our troubled future. Scranton doesn’t sugar coat his findings, 'We are fucked' as he so bluntly puts it. And indeed with the rise in global temperatures set to soar in the next fifty years bringing with it melting ice caps, rising seas, a toxic cocktail of carbon dioxide and methane that has remained locked in the permafrost for centuries, no argument can be made against Scranton’s statement."—Stephen Lee Naish

Demos Journal

"In Learning to Die in the Anthropocene, Roy Scranton sets out from a concept that will be familiar to those concerned about anthropogenic climate change: 'We're fucked’. However, the book is not nearly as pessimistic as its title suggests. Scranton does not urge us to be resigned to human extinction (although he does acknowledge that the chance of the species surviving is ‘slim’). Rather, for Scranton, ‘Death is nothing more than passing from one pattern into another’; so ‘learning to die’ as a civilisation means finding a new way of living" -- Emma Cupitt

Sierra Magazine

"With clarity and conviction, Scranton explores the global failure to address the climate crisis and the possibility that the planet could become uninhabitable. Referring to classic texts as far back as The Epic of Gilgamesh, he urges readers to face their fear of death and find guidance in literature as they prepare for and adapt to the future. The book is an unapologetic punch in the gut, likely to leave many readers gasping. Scranton does offer a kind of hope: By making tough accommodations and reconnecting with our core humanity, we may eventually be able to recover our collective breath."—Michael Berry

"HEAL Utah Podcast"
Mar 8, 2016

Interview with Roy Scranton

- HEAL Utah

"An Excerpt Up at Dark Mountain"
Jan 20, 2016

"Responding autonomously to social excitation means not reacting to it, not passing it on, but interrupting it, then either letting the excitation die or transforming it completely. Responding freely to constant images of fear and violence, responding freely to the perpetual media circuits of pleasure and terror, responding freely to the ongoing alarms of war, environmental catastrophe, and global destruction demands a reorientation of feeling so that every new impulse is held at a distance until it fades or can be changed."––an excerpt from Roy Scranton's Learning to Die in the Anthropocene

- The Dark Mountain Project

Believer Magazine

"War veteran and journalist Roy Scranton combines memoir, philosophy, and science writing to craft one of the definitive documents of the modern era, one that asks what life still means when the threat of climate change advances unabated and the extinction of our civilizations is more or less an eventuality. Scranton's not interested in false optimism, but nor does he dwell in bleakness, sounding out the worth of human dignity on a dying planet."

"Forum in Boston Review"
Jan 11, 2016

"The distinction between human and nature has always been a self-serving political lie."—Roy Scranton


- Boston Review

"Essay in the New York Times' The Stone"
Dec 21, 2015

We're Doomed. Now What?

- The New York Times

"Jeff VanderMeer's Epic List of Favorite Books Read in 2015"
Dec 18, 2015

A year-end appreciation for Roy Scranton's book on Electric Literature.

- ElectricLiterature.com

"2015 in Literature: After Nature, After Autofiction"
Dec 17, 2015

On Flavorwire, Jonathon Sturgeon discusses the year in books.

- FlavorWire

"Interview with Roy Scranton"
Dec 14, 2015

Interview on "This is Hell!"


"Roy Scranton's Learning to Die in the Anthropocene presents, without extraneous bullshit, what we must do to survive on Earth. It's a powerful, useful, and ultimately hopeful book that more than any other I’ve read has the ability to change people’s minds and create change. For me, it crystallizes and expresses what I’ve been thinking about and trying to get a grasp on. The economical way it does so, with such clarity, sets the book apart from most others on the subject."—Jeff VanderMeer

The Military Times

"This is a small book with big ideas from an Army veteran who views the flooding after Hurricane Katrina and sees 'the same chaos and collapse I'd seen in Baghdad.' Scranton brings meaning and humor to the mayhem."—J. Ford Huffman


"Interview on CBC's 'The Current'"
Nov 30, 2015

Roy Scranton believes that no matter what comes out of the Paris conference, our civilization is likely already doomed. Interview with host Anna Maria Tremonti.


The Los Angeles Review of Books

"Scranton's book has its own kind of power. . . . There is something cathartic about his refusal to shy away from the full scope of our predicament."—Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow

Huffington Post interview
Nov 24, 2015

Roy Scranton on Terror, Climate, Anthropocene and What They're Terrified of You Knowing.

- Huffington Post

"Public Seminar"
Nov 12, 2015

McKenzie Wark considers Roy Scranton's book and the phenomenon of what he calls, "Anthropocene Denial Bingo."

- Public Seminar

"Interview on KSKQ, Ashland, OR"
Nov 11, 2015

The KSKQ Morning Show talks to Roy Scranton.


"Interview with Generation Anthropocene"
Nov 11, 2015

In this conversation with producer Mike Osborne, Roy Scranton talks about his journey as an intellectual, his decision to go to war, and what it means for a civilization to learn to die.

- Generation Anthropocene

Time Now

"Scranton has always been a few steps ahead of other veteran-authors . . . Learning to Die in the Anthropocene casts a beautiful allure.​"—Peter Molin

"Essay on Salon"
Nov 11, 2015

"We're repeating Bush’s failure: An Iraq veteran despairs over our deepening climate-change denial."

- Salon

"Interview on Fanzine"
Nov 10, 2015

Roy Scranton discusses his new book, the Anthropocene, and the demands of this weird era on our literature with Fanzine's Chris Holdaway.

- Fanzine

"Interview with Roy Scranton with the Veteran Artist Program"
Nov 3, 2015

"Pretending You're Hemingway:" Roy Scranton is interviewed on the Veteran Artist Program.

- Veteran Artist Program

Amitav Ghosh

"Concise, elegant, erudite, heartfelt & wise."—Amitav Ghosh, author of Flood of Fire

Weller Book Works' Newsletter
Oct 23, 2015

"In the brief but crowded pages of Learning to Die in the Anthropocene, Iraq War veteran, Roy Scranton, wields both history and philosophy as forensic tools. With the unblinking eyes of a medical examiner, he systematically reveals the causes, trajectory and outcome of our planetary domination and its subsequent climate crisis. Slicing away obscuring adipose tissue of romanticism on the left and denial on the right, he pinpoints the source of the corpse's demise."—José Knighton, Weller Book Works' Newsletter

"Tricycle Magazine's blog"
Oct 22, 2015

Roy Scranton's essay for NYU’s The Revealer: A Review of Religion & Media is posted, with permission, on Tricycle’s blog.

- Tricycle Magazine

"Essay in The Nation"
Oct 21, 2015

"What I Learned on a Luxury Cruise Through the Global-Warming Apocalypse: To see the Arctic death spiral firsthand, and to see the Arctic before it melted, I took a 17-day 'adventure cruise' and learned an inconvenient truth: We can't make it stop."--Roy Scranton

- The Nation

"Essay on The Revealer"
Oct 19, 2015

"Climate Change and the Dharma of Failure," by Roy Scranton

- The Revealer

"Essay on Powells.com"
Oct 13, 2015

Roy Scranton contributes the original essay "The Pilgrim" to Powell's Book Blog.

- Powells.com

"Essay in Motherboard/Vice.com"
Oct 1, 2015

"We know the planet is in the midst of a new Great Die-Off, caused by human behavior. Less clear is whether this mass extinction will someday include us, but a growing number of people believe that it will. Who can blame them?

This pessimism is beginning to percolate into the mainstream with the release of Roy Scranton's anticipated new book Learning to Die in the Anthropocene. In it, Scranton advocates for a new philosophical framework that could become a metaphysical wrench-in-the-machine for the global economy, interrupting flows of capital and and replacing knee-jerk reactionism with slow, mediated reflection on our own mortality.

'Philosophical humanism in its most radical practice is the disciplined interruption of somatic and social flows, [and] the detachment of consciousness from impulse,' he writes. At a recent talk Scranton gave at the book's launch in Brooklyn, he suggested the science was just too bleak for social movements to change our future, and all there was left to do is cultivate compassion and patience as we wait to die together.

Scranton’s stoicism is just the kind of detachment from our fiery collective fate that near-term extinction adherents value."—Aaron Miguel Cantú

- Motherboard/Vice.com

"Interview with Roy Scranton"
Sep 24, 2015

"Friends of the Pleistocene" interview Roy Scranton about his new book, Learning to Die in the Anthropocene.

- Friends of the Pleistocene

"Interview with Roy Scranton in The Red & Black, Athens, GA"
Sep 23, 2015

"No matter your opinion on global warming, it's an issue that has affected many lives in one form or another. One Iraq war veteran and Princeton Ph.D. candidate, Roy Scranton, will be at the Avid Bookshop on Thursday to promote his book, "Learning to Die in the Anthropocene," which combines his love for war literature and research on global warming."

- The Red and Black