What is the Anthropocene? "You" should know!

Posted on Friday May 4, 02012

No really it is because of you that the Anthropocene exists.  Well you and the rest of the 7 billion people on the planet and the umpteen more billion Anthropo-ites who came before you over the past few million years. Yes I'm making up words right and left here but to quote Wikipedia's contributors,

the "Anthropocene" "is a recent and informal geologicchronologicalterm that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on theEarth'secosystems. The term was coined by ecologistEugene F. Stoermerbut has been widely popularized by theNobel Prize-winningatmospheric chemistPaul Crutzen, who regards the influence of human behavior on the Earth's atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a newgeological erafor itslithosphere...The Anthropocene has no precise start date, but based on atmospheric evidence may be considered to start with the Industrial Revolution (late 18th century).[1][4] Other scientists link it to earlier events, such as the rise of agriculture. Evidence of relative human impact such as the growing human influence on land use, ecosystems, biodiversity and species extinction is controversial, some scientists believe the human impact has significantly changed (or halted) the growth of biodiversity.[5]"

I bring up the term Anthropocene because it truly is a much more important term than just the definition of a geological age that includes planetary altering activities of human beings and our early ancestors.  It is a word that has the ability to encompass a world view where we, humanity, acknowledge our collective existence, our unbelievable accomplishments as we continue to make our societies more and more sophisticated, and our interdependence upon not only each other, but with the planetary systems we call home. To me the Time of Mankind is a powerful concept that demands much contemplation.

I'd like to share a few videos and links which help further define the concept, some broadly and ethereally and some more specifically.  The first is a visual mediation brought to us byGlobaïa entitled: "Welcome to the Anthropocene".  Make note there is also a very interesting version without narration which I like a lot better, but the narration is helpfull to explain the concept of the Anthropocene.

Sustainability Media recently produced a short 2 minute timelapse video created from high resolution, low light pictures taken from aboard the International Space Station.  We'd like to think it helps us see our collective self a bit easier as well.

 Update: Check out this long exposure taken from ISS recently as well!

Next I'd like to make a giant plug for my friends at the Long Now Foundation who have been dedicating a lot of their recent monthly Seminars About Long-Term Thinking to the subject of the Anthropocene.  The last four talks specifically show the breadth of the subject and their talks can be viewed on their site.  Recent Speaker list include the following.

Long Now Foundation Seminars About Long-Term Thinking


Lastly I am so excited to have learned about the next film by world renown documentary filmmaker Ron Fricke.  Fricke's films from Koyaanisqatsi to Baraka tipped my passions for the ecology, culture and film into a career.  And now in the summer of 2012 we will be treated to this next installment in his amazing career, Samsara.

Click the picture below to play the trailer!



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