What is the Anthropocene?

The Anthropocene is the name scientists now give to this new geological era in which a single species has come to dominate the biological, chemical and geological processes on Earth.

anthropocene_footprints

For millennia the well-being of human societies was conditioned by their adaptation to the natural environment.  Starting with the Industrial Revolution, the activities of some humans began, by accident or intention, to increasingly impact on natural processes. In the 20th century new technologies, fossil fuels, unrestrained growth in production and consumption, and a surge in population growth resulted in a “Great Acceleration” of our impact on the planet. We humans have become the dominant force for change on Earth from climate to DNA.

However, in the process we have triggered forces, like climate change, that threaten our own viability as a species as well as the survival of many other species. What we do now already affects the planet for the next 5,000 or even 50,000 years.

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