(Re)presenting the Anthropocene

I often try to slip the word Anthropocene in to everyday conversations I have, just to see how it plays. Routinely there is an awkward pause as people ask me to repeat the word. This is normally followed by a lengthy explanation on my part, which is followed my a light-bulb moment, when the person I am speaking to begins to comprehend what the term implies. On the whole, it is a concept that seems to make a lot of sense to people in all walks of life, but it is not a term that has immediate recognition value. It is in this context that it is pleasing to see a number of attempts that have been made recently to make the Anthropocene more accessible. On the one hand there has been the launch of the “Welcome to the Anthropocene” website. Co-ordinated my the International Geosphere-Biosphere programme, this site is full of useful data and graphics on the the Anthropocene. Then there is the Welcome to the Anthropocene video that was commissioned as part of the Planet Under Pressure Conference that was held in London last month. Both of these initiative represent important pedagogic steps in making the Anthropocene an accessible and meaningful framework for interpreting the world around us.

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About Mark J Whitehead

Professor of Geography at Aberystwyth University
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