Open Access

Digesting Planetary Harms: Ocean Life, Biomaterial Innovation, and Uncanny Ingestions of the Anthropocene


This article explores innovations in biomaterial ingestion that would seek to solve ecological harm in the Anthropocene. Focusing on ocean ecologies and marine life, we follow several case studies that examine the paradigm of digestion to consider how efforts to eat the harmful by-products of the Anthropocene spark multifaceted interventions including, the development of novel cuisines, dieting tools, the invention of new animal feed additives, and an array of biotechnologies that would digest or otherwise sequester plastic pollutants. In doing so, we explore how this paradigm of digestion and associated bioscientific interventions are shifting relations between humans and nonhumans, exacerbating the conditions of an “uncanny” Anthropocene. We ask: Can the moving of “strange” surroundings and digestible objects through our bodies better hold us to account for the colonial and calculative epistemes that forged the Anthropocene? Or will these dreams of a circular, digestive economy only extend the promise of the never-ending extraction, valuation, and manipulation of nonhumans as a means of locating solutions to planetary precarity?