“We have entered the Anthropocene; a new geological epoch dominated by humanity”
May 1, 2012 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Welcome to the Anthropocene: A 3-minute journey through the last 250 years of our history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the Rio+20 Summit. The film charts the growth of humanity into a global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes.

There is also a narrated version which provides more information and a historical context.

posted by quin (12 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for the post, a nice few minutes for a Tuesday morning.

As with most narratives of this type, critiquing its myopic assumptions (like technological determinism, cultural chauvinism) ends up deconstructing the whole fragile thing, and then we're left with nothing pretty. Kudos to all the beautiful stories that stem from radical simplifications of our heterogeneous world.
posted by farishta at 7:20 AM on May 1, 2012

"global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes."

posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:24 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yay Canada! We're (mostly) a big black hole!
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:26 AM on May 1, 2012

I wonder what is up with DPR (North) Korea lighting up as much as it did.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:31 AM on May 1, 2012

The eerie white strands suggest that the spiders from Mars have had their way with the planet.
posted by obscurator at 7:51 AM on May 1, 2012

Please, tell me more about this technological determinism and cultural chauvinism, and why it's wrong to look to the future and ask if our current lifestyles are sustainable. And what's that about a hockey stick?
posted by sneebler at 7:55 AM on May 1, 2012

Yay Canada! We're (mostly) a big black hole!

I grew up in Dallas, TX but am now a Canadian citizen. When I was graduating from high school (1999) I decided to visit my old elementary school one last time before I moved up here to Canada. While visiting with an old teacher I was leafing through a geography book. There was an illustration of North America: fifty states, Alaska & Hawaii off to the side in small boxes as well as Mexico down below and (this is the great part) above the U.S. a greyed out land mass which was unlabelled. So yeah.... according to that particular geography text book, Canada did not exist.
posted by Fizz at 8:00 AM on May 1, 2012


It means that human activity has finally increased to a point that we will leave a permanent mark on the rock strata of Earth. Even if we were all gone tomorrow, future geologists working millions of years from now would still be able to look at the earth's crust and say "look, right about here is when this planet had an outbreak of humans".
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:02 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

"global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes."

The narrated version makes the claim that we move more sediment and rock than natural processes like erosion and rivers.
posted by mediareport at 8:06 AM on May 1, 2012

Add to these the carbon in the atmosphere; glass and plastics; radiation where it shouldn't be...
posted by gerryblog at 9:33 AM on May 1, 2012

Thank you for the post, quin. I'm currently half way through "Too smart for our own good" by Dillworth, so this video is very timely..
posted by c13 at 9:45 AM on May 1, 2012

Here's a clear, concise overview of the Anthropocene concept by Elizabeth Kolbert at Yale's environment360 blog, with reference to the original GSA journal article that formally called on the International Commission on Stratigraphy to rule on the matter.

Also: Alex Steffen's impassioned argument against the utility of the term.
posted by gompa at 9:48 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

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