The Anthropocene: spread of an idea

The Anthropocene, the idea that the entire planet has become a social-ecological system, is now being discussed in the mass media.  Three recent sightings… 1) The Economist has a feature story A man-made world: Science is recognising humans as a geological force to be reckoned with.  The author writes: To think of deliberately interfering in […]

Is a Good Anthropocene Possible?

Will Steffen and I gave contrasting talks in a Mock Court on the meaning of the Anthropocene at the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability in Stockholm.  The talks are now online, along with other talks from the symposium (I recommend Frances Westley‘s on innovation). Will and I were arguing about four charges (defined […]

Information and communication technologies in the Anthropocene

UPDATED: Slides from the talks at the end of this blogpost The use of social media for political mobilization during the political uprisings in Northern Africa and the Middle East during 2010 and 2011; digital coordination of climate skeptic networks during “Climategate” in 2010; and the repercussions of hackers in carbon markets the last years. […]

Resilience as an operating system for sustainability in the anthropocene

Chris Turner, author of Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need, writing in the Walrus about the Anthropocene and the coral reef crisis in his long article Age of Breathing Underwater: I first heard tell of “resilience” — not as a simple descriptive term but as the cornerstone of an entire ecological philosophy […]

Evaluating Ruddiman’s long anthropocene hypothesis

From In The Field a report on a symposium on Bill Ruddiman‘s long anthropocene hypothesis –  that the development of agriculture caused significant global warming: Ruddiman’s basic argument goes like this: Although the climate has cycled through a series of ice ages and warm interglacial periods for more than a million years, none of those […]

Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene

In a commentary Shifting Baselines, Local Impacts, and Global Change on Coral Reefs in PLoS Biology coral reef ecologists Nancy Knowlton and Jeremy Jackson write: Imagine trying to understand the ecology of tropical rainforests by studying environmental changes and interactions among the surviving plants and animals on a vast cattle ranch in the center of […]

Mapping the Anthropocene: Anthropegenic Biomes

Humanity is now a geological force reshaping the Earth’s surface, atmosphere, and biogeochemistry. This reality has lead Earth System Scientists to argue that we are living in a new geological era – the Anthropocene. Recently Navin Ramankutty, a colleague of mine here at McGill, and Erle Ellis, from the University of Maryland, have developed a […]