We live in the Anthropocene. The age of humanity. It is the period of Earth’s history largely shaped by human activity. Over roughly the last 10,000 years we humans have changed the composition of both the planet’s atmosphere and its oceans, radically transformed its ecosystems—driving many species to extinction in the process—and have even begun to alter our own biology.
The transformation of the world is the result our collective activity but is not in its totality the product of some deliberate, careful plan. Our tremendous power to reshape the world gives us both an opportunity to make it a better place or to do it great harm. Although the benefits of human civilization are obvious, human civilization has also had a host of serious unintended consequences. It is not beyond our abilities to destroy either ourselves or the planet that is our home.
As the pace of change increases we have to consider as a species where we are heading. We can’t continue to use our power carelessly much longer. This blog will focus on the way we are transforming both the planet and ourselves. If there is anything you think I should cover here, please don’t hesitate to let me know using the comment form below. In particular, I would love to hear suggestions about important articles I should read or books I should review. Likewise, if you have original photos you would like featured on the site, please let me know.
The Anthropocene is the informal geologic name for the period of Earth’s history in which human activities have substantially altered the planet’s natural ecosystems. The term was coined by the biologist Eugene Stoermer in the 1980s and gained currency after it was used by Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist in an article in Nature in 2002. Robert de Neufville has degrees in political science and political theory from Harvard and Berkeley and is an associate of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute. Robert has contributed to The Economist and The Washington Monthly, and for several years wrote the Politeia column for Big Think. He is also participating as forecaster in IARPA’s experimental Good Judgment Project. Follow him on Twitter here.
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