Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Book Review: The Anthropocene: The human era and how it shapes our planet

I've been watching this TV show: Ascension. It's a timely premise, since I've been reading The Anthropocene, but suffice it to say that our global sustainability on spaceship earth is a burning question for our time. (More on Ascension below!)

The Anthropocene

The Anthropocene: The Human Era and How It Shapes Our Planet

The Anthropocene is regarded as the time from the start of the Industrial Revolution onward. Eugene F. Stoermer, an American biologist, coined it and Paul Crutzen, a Dutch atmospheric chemist (and a Nobel laureate), popularized it. For more on the Anthropocene, see National Geographic.

Christian Schwägerl.
This thoroughly researched book offers positive, life-affirming strategies in the face of our current global ecological crises. It is the culmination of ten years of investigation by award-winning environmental science journalist Christian Schwägerl. The author has traveled the globe extensively, visiting
megacities and interviewing leaders in the fields of science, politics and culture.

In the light of many concerns Canadian citizens have around the environment, science, the muzzling of scientists and where Canada stands globally, this is an excellent resources for enquiring minds.

Schwägerl's research has led him to offer his ideas of how humans can live with nature, not against nature. He demands we asks questions, ultimately of our policiticans, about our impact as a species and guides us in acting as stewards of spaceship earth, for an ecologically-sustainable future.
"It's not particularly heavy reading, but it is fairly detailed. There are dire consequences to exploiting earth, many of us have been trying to teach our children, but the powers-that-be seem more concerned with the short-term political gain, than long-term solutions. 
Gray tree frogs on my railing
We are running populations of many plant and animal species down to the point of extinction. Biologists talk about a sixth wave of extinction in the history of the earth that is now underway, due to cutting down tropical rainforests, overfishing, overhunting, and a general loss of habitats. (p. 43)
Christian Schwägerl quotes many authors who have studied humankind, such as Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, NY, 2011) who has documented our own demise in previous eras. Rainforest decimation, disappearing coral reefs, clearing old-growth forests, and melting glaciers portend this doom, on top of the issues of the toxins we've unleashed on the planet over the years.

There is a good glossary, and footnotes. It is well-translated – from German.

In 1963, President Kennedy and the U.S. government launched a covert space mission sending hundreds of men, women and children on a century-long voyage aboard the starship ASCENSION to populate a new world, assuring the survival of the human race.  They didn't know many answers to logical questions.


Sarah Laurence said...

Great to see books like this getting published! I know a lot about this topic, having studied it in grad school, but I'll show it to my daughter who is interested in environmental issues and ethics.

William Kendall said...

I missed Ascension while it was on the air- I'm sure I can track it down.

The muzzling of scientists is one of the many, many reasons I object so strongly to the current federal government.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Interesting how things come up like pearls threading... my post today looks at this from a slightly different perspective and there's a couple of vid links in there I think you will find of interest... We need more and more voices calling out on this; but more than that, we need all to truly begin to act upon the things over which we do have control. Thanks for this Jenn! YAM xx

Barrie said...

This is all so scary, isn't it? I think my Child #3 would be interested in this book. It'll make a good gift. Thank you for reviewing!