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Book review: The Human Planet

earth science, biologyPat Hamilton, Director, Climate Change, Energy & the EnvironmentApr 22, 2020

Sheltering in place and practicing good social distancing has recently provided me with ample opportunity for reading. I just finished The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene by Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin, both professors at University College London.

I grasp that a pandemic might seem a time better suited to lighter, more escapist fare but I nonetheless recommend this book. Lewis and Maslin are excellent authors as well as apparently outstanding scientists. They do a remarkable job explaining what it means for humans to have become the dominant agents of global change. Through a sweeping review of Earth’s history, they describe how human activity is now comparable to past upheavals used to mark sharp shifts in the geologic record. We presently are in the midst of a global crisis that is disorientating for its sudden onset and uncertain ending.

The Anthropocene is one of the most important scientific concepts of our time. We will be better able to guide our future if we understand the circumstances that led to the unstable world that is our current reality.

The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene is available online in multiple formats.