What are we doing to the planet? Is that even an accurate formulation? In the great words of Tonto, what do you mean 'we'? Humans are of the Earth, and yet at the same time our impact on it has been a great force, often working against it. This can be a complex line of inquiry and to help shed some light on it, our division of biological sciences has devised and will host an important series of public lectures this fall spanning the breadth of this very subject:
First coined by ecologist Eugene Stoermer in the 1980s, the term "anthropocene" has come to stand for a geological time period in which the actions of humanity have had a significant impact on Earth's ecosystems.
"For over four billion years the Earth has been changing, and in all of that time it is natural processes that have affected the amount of land covered by forest, desert, plains or tundra," said Farmer, chair of the division of biological sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and organizer of the lecture series. "The anthropocene represents a fundamental change in Earth's history, in that it is now humanity that has become a major driver of those natural processes that most affect life on our planet."
In an effort to better understand this period of unprecedented change, a number of leading scholars at UGA will present eight public lectures on the latest scientific findings on everything from how we are altering the planet's chemistry to what these changes will mean for billions of people around the world.
The lectures are designed as public discussions about science for non-scientists.
The series begins with "Extinction in a Changing World" by professor of cell biology Mark A. Farmer on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. in the UGA Chapel. A complete list of subjects and speakers is here. The lectures are free and open to the public. See you on the 28th - you might want to get to the Chapel early.