Is the Anthropocene a one-way trip for mankind?
It's not yet formalised as a geological term, but many scientists are using 'Anthropocene' to define the era we're living in now – one in which human activities rival the power of geophysical processes in shaping our planet. The Holocene, the geological epoch which began around 10,000 years ago, has provided a relatively stable environment which has supported the rapid development of human life – and we're steadily moving away from these conditions.
Our generation is the first to understand the power of its own influence on the environment and this paper argues that recognising the significance of the Anthropocene moves us on from defining environmental problems, towards finding solutions.
The authors set out various ways in which human economic and social developments are moving us away from the supportive environmental conditions of the Holocene, and asks whether the Anthropocene could see us redefine ourselves as stewards of our environment, or if it could be a one-way trip to an uncertain future.
Steffen, W et al. The Anthropocene: from global change to planetary stewardship. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 2011.
Posted on 30 January 2012
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