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The Anthropocene: A new epoch of geological time?

11 May 2011 — 11 May 2011 Geological Society of London, The

In the blink of a geological eye, through our need for energy, food, water, minerals, for space in which to live and play, we have wrought changes to Earth’s environment and life that are as significant as any known in the geological record.

But has our impact really been so significant that it defines a new geological epoch? In 2000, Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen coined the term 'The Anthropocene' to describe humanity's impact on the planet. Since then, the concept has gained a firm foothold in the geological community, and more widely.

Its significance is not simply a matter of geological taxonomy – it constitutes a new organising principle for natural and social scientists from a wide range of disciplines studying our interactions with life and the planet, for policy makers addressing resource use and environmental challenges, and for a broader public engaging with these debates through traditional and new media.

This meeting, supported by the British Geological Survey, will bring together a diverse audience of scientists, journalists and policy makers to discuss the concept of and evidence for the Anthropocene. Featuring a keynote talk by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen, and talks from executive editor of National Geographic magazine, Dennis Demick, and Dot Earth blog author Andrew Revkin, the meeting will cover topics ranging from biodiversity, ocean law, terrestrial evidence and more, with ample opportunities for questions and debate.


09:30 Registration & coffee

10:00 – 10:05 Welcome: Mike Ellis (Head of Climate Change Science, British Geological Survey)

10:05 – 10:10 Introduction: Andrew Revkin (Writer, Dot Earth Blog)

10:10 – 10:40 Dennis Demick (Editor, National Geographic)

Man-Made World: Signs and Scenes from the Anthropocene

10:40 – 11:10 Will Steffen (Australian National University)

The Human Enterprise: From hunter-gatherers to a global geophysical force

11:10 Tea/Coffee

11:30 – 12:00 Erle Ellis (University of Maryland)

Emergence and Sustainability of the Anthropocene Biosphere

12:00 – 13:00 Panel Discussion: Chaired by Andre Revkin

13:00 Lunch in Burlington House

14:00 – 14:30 James Syvitski (University of Colorado)

Sediment flux and the Anthropocene

14:30 – 15:00 Dorothy Merritts (Franklin and Marshall College)

The Anthropocene: Deep in the Mud

15:00 Tea and Coffee

15:30 – 16:00 Toby Tyrrell (University of Southampton)

A Drop in the Ocean or a Sea Change?

16:00 – 16:30 Davor Vidas (Fridtjof Nansens Institut)

The Anthropocene and the Law of Oceans

16:30 – 17:30 Panel Discussion: Chaired by Jan Zalasiewicz

17:30 Wine and canapés

18:30 – 19:30 Plenary Lecture: Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen (Max Planck Institute)

Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate in the ‘Anthropocene’

Attached files

  • Anthropocene Programme

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