In 2000, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen suggested that humans have had such profound and far-reaching impacts on the planet that we have ushered in a new geologic age – the Age of Man, or, as Crutzen called it, the Anthropocene. The idea has been bouncing around the halls of academia ever since, and in the last few years, it has jumped from the ivory tower into popular literature and a few geek-tastic conversations over beer. The notion that humans now run this joint seems to have struck a chord.
Just getting up to speed? The team from the Generation Anthropocene podcast at Stanford University sat down in the recording studio and tried to explain everything in five short minutes. (It ended up taking seven, but who’s counting?) Just for fun, they did it game-show style. Here they are talking about the basics of the Anthropocene, the arguments for and against adding it to the official geologic timetable, and why the idea is so catchy:
- Grist’s David Roberts explains why the Anthropocene is so hard for people to get their heads around and links to a cool video.
- If you really want to dive deep, the Royal Society dedicated an entire issue of its Philosophical Transections to the Anthropocene.
- Find Generation Anthropocene’s interviews about our new age on Grist, or go straight to the source.
Get Grist in your inbox