viernes, 30 de noviembre de 2012

The anthropocene: conceptual and historical perspectives

Today I share with all of you one of the best scientific papers that I have ever read!!

The concept of the Anthropocene, introduced a decade ago, has only recently become widely, though still informally, used. It describes the human imprint on the global environment as a strong force that affects the functioning of the Earth system. This paper argues that the notion of humankind as a driving force is not a new one and it traces some of the antecedents of the Anthropocene concept. The paper thus proposes to formalize the use of the term Anthropocene as a new geological epoch or era in Earth history. It determines that the advent of the Industrial Revolution in 1800 was the logical start of the said era and further characterizes the period of the Great Acceleration from 1945 to 2000.

The paper proceeds to describe recent trends in the evolution of the Anthropocene, such as changing carbon and other biogeochemical cycles, modifying of the terrestrial water cycle, and causing the sixth extinction event in Earth history. Finally, the authors note that all these anthropogenic changes to elements fundamental to life on Earth may well threaten the very existence of humankind on Earth.

In this sense, I really recommend to read this paper* for all of those that are interesting with the changes that the Earth surface has suffered at planetary scale over the last centuries.

*You can free download .pdf file 

Direct link:

Steffen, W., Grinevald, J., Crutzen, P., McNeill, J. (2011). The anthropocene: conceptual and historical perspectives. Phil. R. Soc. A., 369: 842-867

Miquel Mir Gual

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