When we think of geology, we may think of the Grand Canyon. We imagine layers upon layers of geological strata containing rocks that were formed millions or even billions of years ago. But do we ever think about the geological layer that is being laid down today? How will humankind be remembered in the rocks? Perhaps the Earth is undergoing a major change right now, a shift into a new time period called the Anthropocene.
Proponents of this idea suggest that humankind are changing the character of the Earth significantly. This might have begun when humans started farming, during the industrial age, or even when humans started sending little bits of the Earth into space, never to return.
Today on the podcast I talk to Dr. David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist at the Planetary Science Institute and an award winning author. His most recent book is Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future. We discuss the various ways humans are changing the planet: from climate change to how humans are responsible for altering how water is distributed over the face of the Earth to new types of minerals we are responsible for.
When we think about the changes to the Earth and the environment that we create, often there is cause for alarm. But David gives us a reason to be hopeful. Even though large scale changes in the climate or nuclear detonations may be hallmarks of the Anthropocene, the future does not need to be bleak. David points out that we are capable of changing our ways before it is too late. We will have to if we want the Anthropocene to indeed be a long-lived, positive change for the Earth.
You can follow David @DrFunkySpoon.