Monday, January 02, 2017

anthropocene now

Happy New Year to all, my one and only NY resolution is to provide a blog entry revisiting one of my features from the open archives on those Mondays when no new feature comes out. Which is the case today, for example. So here goes.

In February 2015, I wrote about the ongoing deliberations of The International Commission for Stratigraphy (ICS) working group chaired by geologist Jan Zalasiewicz to assess whether the changes that humanity has inflicted on our planet call for the definition of a new geological time. If so, experts need to scratch their heads over which level should it be pegged at, and when it may have started without anybody noticing.

In the same feature, I also covered the latest assessment of the "planetary boundaries" by Johan Rockström and colleagues, so it could have been called What have we done to our planet?

Since then, the Working Group on the Anthropocene has voted to formally designate the epoch Anthropocene and presented this recommendation to the International Geological Congress on 29 August 2016. While official recognition and a formal determination of the starting date is still due, the recommendation has been widely reported and the concept of the Anthropocene is now better known than it was two years ago.

My feature, Assessing humanity's global impact, is freely accessible here.

Our civilisation’s ability to picture our planet from space, as photographed here by the Apollo 8 crew, has increased our awareness of its vulnerability to human activities, but unsustainable growth continues. (Photo: Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center, NASA’s Earth Observatory.)

PS: such as not to dilute the tags for new features (currentbiology, sciencejournalism) I'll tag these flashbacks with CB archives instead and use thematic tags only if new info on the themes has been added since the original article.

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