The Anthropocene

Posted on November 12, 2011

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We encourage you to view and share this TEDtalk on the Anthropocene!

Will Steffen, Executive Director of the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute, presents a scientific journey measuring humanity’s effect on the planet.  This talk presents scientific and geological information in such a way  that could even shift the perceptions of climate change skeptics.  Steffan illustrates the profound change in the planet since the Industrial Revolution.  He argues that now, and only now, humanity is the single most influential factor in global changes.  Within this current epoch, humans and our societies have become a global geophysical force.  This new epoch is called the Anthropocene, or the age of mankind.  Steffan argues that these human changes are pushing us out of the comfortable, stable epoch of the Holocene, which could have dire consequences.  The talk presents some bleak information, whilst communicating the need to act now, and the hope that we can reverse some of the damages done.

For further information and opinions, here are some links to articles on the Anthropocene from the Economist and the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/opinion/28mon4.html

http://www.economist.com/node/18741749

And for further academic investigation into this concept, the article Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity (2009) provides a good starting point for research:

http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art32/main.html

-K-

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