“The Holocene is over and welcome to the Anthropocene our very uniquely human geological era.” In March 02012 environmental activist and author Mark Lynas gave a sobering assessment of Earth in the Anthropocene.
Lynas offers a framework for tracking the health of our planet, outlining nine measurable “boundaries” that if crossed threaten the well-being of humans on Earth. And some already had been crossed in 02012. These systems go beyond climate and biodiversity to measures like ocean acidification, atmospheric aerosols, and excess nitrogen in agriculture.
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From Stewart Brand’s summary of the talk (in full here):
We’ve raised the temperature of the Earth system, reduced the alkalinity of the oceans, altered the chemistry of the atmosphere, changed the reflectivity of the planet, hugely affected the distribution of freshwater, and killed off many of the species that share the planet with us. […] Some of those global alterations made by humans may be approaching tipping points—thresholds—that could destabilize the whole Earth system.
Mark Lynas‘ books include Six Degrees (which Stewart Brand called one of the finest books written on climate), The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans, and most recently Nuclear 2.0: Why a Green Future Needs Nuclear Power (02014). He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Decarbonising Energy, which focuses on sustainable energy to mitigate climate change.
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