‘Welcome to the Anthropocene – a brief history of how humans are shaping the planet’
James Syvitski: Jack Jeffery Sustainability lecture, 12th July 2016, Newcastle University
In this lecture, given to mark conferment of an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree on him by Newcastle University, James ‘Jai’ Syvitski outlines how the Anthropocene was formally proposed in 2000 as Earth’s newest epoch, a period during which humanity’s impact on the planet has rivalled that of the great geological forces. Humans are changing the Earth’s biophysical system but, in the past few years, this concept has escaped its geological confines to emerge as a new paradigm that embodies an altered human environment relationship. Natural and social scientists, humanists, artists, educators and journalists have examined this concept from a variety of perspectives.
This churning has thrown up many questions such as: “When did the Anthropocene begin?”; “What are the implications of this paradigm for science and policy?”; “Is it fair to hold ‘humanity’ culpable for the actions of a few?” and “Can there be a ‘good’ Anthropocene?”
Jai is an External Advisor (and a dear friend) to the Anthropocene Research Group at Newcastle.