2011: the Anthropocene comes of Age

2011 was a remarkable year. The Anthropocene concept broke out of the scientific community and into the mainstream. It took on a new significance and meaning in the wider world with potentially profound consequences for how we see our place on Earth.

The concept came of age.

The main events:

  1. In January 2011, the UK’s Royal Society’s in-house journal, Philosophical Transactions A, published a special issue, The Anthropocene: a new epoch of geological time?
  2. On 11 May 2011, the Geological Society in London ran an open meeting of the same name.
  3. Also on 11 May, the Vatican (Pontifical Academy of Sciences)
    published a report, Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene
  4. A week later in Stockholm (16-19 May), a group of Nobel Laureates gathered at the home of the Nobel prizes, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, for a symposium on global sustainability. The Anthropocene was high on everyone’s lips.
  5. On 28 May the Economist‘s front cover read: Welcome to the Anthropocene. The magazine ran an editorial and feature on the concept’s power to change our view of ourselves and the planet.
  6. A couple of weeks later, also at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and partners held a three-day workshop to look at how we navigate the Anthropocene, Planetary Stewardship: solutions for responsible development.
  7. Throughout May and June the global media discussed the Anthropocene: the Guardian, New York Times, BBC.
  8. In October, the Dalai Larma held a seminar to discuss the Great Acceleration and the Anthropocene.
  9. In November, to mark the arrival of number Seven Billion, Globaia launched the Cartography of the Anthropocene – an amazing suite of  data visualizations taking us through the Anthropocene.
  10. December, Hope in the Age of the Man, (New York Times).
  11. End-of-year reviews brim with references to the Anthropocene,  Nature 365, 2011 in review: living in the Anthropocene, Bloomberg Don’t Panic: Earth’s nine threats to humanity.

One thought on “2011: the Anthropocene comes of Age”

  1. There have been reports of American Oystercatchers eaintg Piping Plover eggs and chasing young chicks. The two species nest in close proximity to each other. Interestingly, the the oystercatchers set up their territories and start nesting before the plovers arrive. PACE University is conducting a focused study on this, looking at the extent of these types of encounters. NYC Audubon is working with a student from Columbia University to document human disturbance impacts on oystercatcher nest success. If you observe any interactions positive or negative please let us know!Thanks for your comments. -Susan

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