Earth system scientists have concluded that, as a result of human activities, the Earth has recently entered a new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene. When we begin to reflect on this fact, it is astonishing. Humans have become so powerful that we can shift the geological evolution of the planet itself. At the same time, environmental destruction and the destabilization of Earth system processes such as the carbon cycle mean that the Earth is more unstable and dangerous for humans than it has been for thousands of years. Beyond the implications for humans, with the arrival of the Anthropocene epoch, the Earth itself also seems to have entered a new phase in its 4.5-billion-year history because, for the first time, a conscious, willing being can change how the planet functions. In this lecture, Clive Hamilton explores some of the profound implications of these events.
This community event is presented by the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the Centre for International Governance Innovation.