The AnthropoceneA Multidisciplinary Approach
The Anthropocene
A Multidisciplinary Approach
Humans rank with the powerful forces of nature transforming Earth. Since the mid-20th century, population growth, industrialization, and globalization have had such deep and wide-ranging impacts that our planet no longer functions as it did during the previous eleven millennia. So distinctive is this collective human intervention that a new geological interval has been proposed; it is called the Anthropocene. 

The Anthropocene is intriguing scientifically, fascinating intellectually, and deeply disturbing politically, socially, economically, and ethically. We must learn how to co-exist sustainably with the rest of nature in what is emerging as a new planetary state. To do so, we must first understand what "Anthropocene" means in all its dimensions. This book adopts a multidisciplinary approach, starting with an exploration of the Anthropocene as a geological concept: ranging across the physical changes to the landscape, to the rapidly heating climate, to a biosphere undergoing transformation. And what of the "anthropos" in the Anthropocene? While geoscience does not normally address political and ethical issues of justice and equity, or economics and culture, Anthropocene studies in the humanities and social sciences investigate the complexities of the human activity driving global change.  Here the book looks at human history, both in the deep past and more recently, the politics and economics of growth spurring the Anthropocene, and potential ways of mitigating its cruel effects. Our fragile, still beautiful, planet is finite. The new realities of the Anthropocene will need our best efforts, across disciplinary divides, at effective hope and action.
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  • November 2020
  • 288 pages
  • 158 x 237 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509534593
  • Paperback $26.95
  • 9781509534609
  • Open eBook $22.00
  • 9781509534616
Table of Contents

1. The Multidisciplinary Anthropocene 

2. The Geological Context of the Anthropocene 

3. The Anthropocene as a Geological Time Unit and the Great Acceleration 

4. The Anthropocene and Climate Change 

5. The Anthropocene and the Biosphere's Transformation 

6. The "Anthropos" of the Anthropocene 

7. Economics and Politics of the Anthropocene 

8. Existential Challenges in the Anthropocene
About the Author
Julia Adeney Thomas is Associate Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.

Mark Williams
 is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester and co-director of the International Laboratory for Palaeobiology and Palaeoenvironments at Yunnan University.

Jan Zalasiewicz is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy.
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"An accessible tour de force and an ideal starting point for anyone seeking an understanding of the Anthropocene predicament."
—John R. McNeill, Georgetown University

"Earth System scientists have proposed the Anthropocene and geologists are confirming its reality. This work explores more important questions: what does the Anthropocene really mean for humanity and what are the many ways we could deal with it?"
—Will Steffen, Australian National University

"The big market for this book in Australia is the "educated general reader" and they will love it. It is not so much an "introductory course book" for them, but rather a review book that empowers them to understand and take action. It is a tour-de-force."
—Libby Robin, author of The Environment: A History of the Idea

"An indispensable guide… The Anthropocene maps cultural and scientific definitions of its subject in ways that experts will find provocative and students accessible."
—Green Letters

"This book should be required introductory reading for anyone interested in learning about the Anthropocene, and particularly for those concerned about the broad but intertwined challenges facing humanity, our environments, and the planet."
—The Holocene

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