Our Possible Futures

A coal-fired power plant, one of the engines our species created that had ushered in a new age of the Earth: the Anthropocene. Photo by Robert Ashworth.
A coal-fired power plant, one of the engines our species created that had ushered in a new age of the Earth: the Anthropocene. Photo by Robert Ashworth.

I finally had a chance tonight to listen to the “TED Radio Hour” episode on the “Anthropocene”. This is the name given by some in the climate science community to the epoch of time in which we now live. The Holocene, which began about 11,000 ago when the glaciers of the last ice age receded, had been the period in which we lived. The climate had been relatively stable and generally cool and pleasant. But our species’ strong ability to adapt, evolve technologically, and reshape the world has likely shifted the Earth from that period into a new one. Our consumption of fossil fuels has resulted in a shifting climate that warms more every decade. The last time this kind of warming occurred and was not checked, 90% of all life on Earth was driven to extinction in an event our species named “The Great Dying.”

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