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HUMANITIES SCIENCE POLITICS

Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751-598x, 25th November, 2016. 18.00 GMT

Picture credit: Stratigraphy in The Grand Canyon, USA, 1992.
From Helen Gavaghan's personal collection.

Fred Pearce argues we live in an anthropocene where people
dominate geophysical reality and can shape a human future.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

WELCOME TO THE ANTHROPOCENE. Take a good look
around. A single species is in charge, altering the planet's
features almost at will. What more natural than to name
this new epoch after that top-of-the-range primate - our-
selves? Dutch Nobel prize winning atmospheric scientist, Paul Crutzen,
coined the phrase in 2000 to describe the last two centuries of our
planet's evolution.

At a conference someone said something to Crutzen about the Holocene,
a period since the end of the last age where climate had significant
implications for the development of civilisation. He told me later, "I
suddenly thought that this was wrong. The world has changed too
much. So I said, 'No, we are in the anthropocene'. I just made up the
word on the spur of the moment. Everyone was shocked, but it seems
to have stuck."

Continued on page 16...

Issue 4 (October - December), 2016. Volume VII. Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751-598x.

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CONTENTS

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Published Friday 25th November, 2016

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A print version would additionally have two blank pages, so this version is not routinely for sale as print, unless really wanted.

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