A remarkable exploration of the science, history and politics of one of the most important ideas of our time from two world-renowned experts.
Meteorites, methane, mega-volcanoes and now human beings; the old forces of nature that transformed Earth many millions of years ago are joined by another: us. Our actions have driven Earth into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. For the first time in our home planet's 4.5-billion year history a single species is dictating Earth's future.
To some the Anthropocene symbolises a future of superlative control of our environment. To others it is the height of hubris, the illusion of our mastery over nature. Whatever your view, just below the surface of this odd-sounding scientific word, the Anthropocene, is a heady mix of science, philosophy, religion and politics linked to our deepest fears and utopian visions. Tracing our environmental impact through time to reveal when humans began to dominate Earth, Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin show what the new epoch means for the future of humanity, the planet and life itself.
A careful explanation of what society is doing to this amazing planet and its people. I was absolutely gripped. Brilliantly written and genuinely one of the most important books I have ever read -- Ellie Mae O'Hagan
A relentless reckoning of how we, as a species, got ourselves into the mess we're in today. . . told with determination and in chiseled, almost literary prose. Indeed, the book's main story - how one species, Homo sapiens, fresh off the trees of Africa, came to rule the Earth so completely that it now stands a good chance of wrecking it - has the force of a Greek tragedy * Wall Street Journal *
A clear, intelligent and engaged history of and argument about the Anthropocene. . . If readers want a judicious and engaging marker of where the debate has reached, The Human Planet is it -- Robert J. Mayhew * Times Higher Education *
Profound and thought-provoking, this book does a remarkable job explaining where the current proposal to define a new human-dominated era properly fits -- Thomas E. Lovejoy, winner of the Blue Planet Prize
That humans now dominate the 'natural' systems of our planet is the key fact of our time -- this book does a remarkable job of explaining how that came to pass, and why it matters so much -- Bill McKibben, author Falter
Understanding what it means for humans to have become a geological force reshaping the workings of the Earth is both a deep intellectual challenge and a political necessity. Richly thought through and provocative from its title onwards, The Human Planet rises to that challenge, bringing together Earth history and human history in a new way. Its reassessment of the past will equip its readers to understand the future -- and perhaps to improve it -- Oliver Morton, author of The Planet Remade
Today scientists increasingly believe that we have entered a new era, the Anthropocene. In this succinct but sweeping re-evaluation of the human story, Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin show exactly why this abstract-sounding contention should radically affect our views of today and tomorrow. The Human Planet packs more ideas into a small space than I would have thought possible -- Charles C. Mann, author of The Wizard and the Prophet
Immensely readable. . . Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin provide a compelling narrative, stretching from the emergence of hominins from Earth's long history some 3 million years ago, to our position today, as a species with planetary reach * Nature *