New age researchers highlight how man is changing the world

Feb 02, 2011
Angkor Tom in Cambodia provides a striking metaphor for the Anthropocene. Credit: University of Leicester

Human influence on the landscape, global warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification and biodiversity are highlighted in a new set of studies led by University of Leicester researchers.

How this influence will be reflected in the distinctive geological record forms the basis of the studies published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams from the University of Leicester Department of Geology led the production of the studies into the Anthropocene – a new geological epoch distinguished by the change that man has wrought upon the earth.

Dr Zalasiewicz said: "At the beginning of this millennium, the Nobel Prize winning chemist Paul Crutzen suggested that we are now living in a new geological interval of time that is dominated by human activities. He termed this the Anthropocene. Since then, the Anthropocene has increasingly been used both by scientists and by the public as in indication of the scale of human change to planet Earth.

"Our new studies published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A feature nearly 70 scientists – including Paul Crutzen himself, Sir Crispin Tickell, Professor Will Steffen and many others.

This image shows the Shanghai skyline. Credit: University of Leicester

"The results give us a much clearer picture of the way in which we are changing the world – and of how long these changes might last."

The authors contend that recent human activity, including stunning population growth, sprawling megacities and increased use of fossil fuels, have changed the planet to such an extent that we are entering what they call the Anthropocene (New Man) Epoch.

They add: "The Anthropocene represents a new phase in the history of both humankind and of the Earth, when natural forces and human forces became intertwined, so that the fate of one determines the fate of the other. Geologically, this is a remarkable episode in the history of this planet."

Explore further: Local education politics 'far from dead'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The age of Aquarius? Nope, it's the Anthropocene epoch

Apr 14, 2010

In just two centuries, humans have wrought such vast and unprecedented changes to our world that we actually might be ushering in a new geological time period that could alter the planet for millions of years, ...

The Dawn of a New Epoch?

Mar 26, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Geologists from the University of Leicester are among four scientists- including a Nobel prize-winner - who suggest that the Earth has entered a new age of geological time.

Core blimey! Scientist calls for geological 'time machine'

Feb 04, 2008

A geologist from the University of Leicester has proposed an immense (1.5km) exhibition to illustrate the vastness of geological time and to give a vivid perspective of how quickly human activity is changing the climate.

Recommended for you

Decoding ethnic labels

18 hours ago

If you are of Latin American descent, do you call yourself Chicano? Latino? Hispanic?

Local education politics 'far from dead'

Jul 29, 2014

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

Jul 29, 2014

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

Jul 29, 2014

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall

Jul 29, 2014

People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

zevkirsh
5 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2011
this is a caricature of an example of a terrible article ; a non-article. FAIL.