Journey into the Anthropocene
Number of pages
The Antarctic is at once the keystone of our global climate and its perfect observation deck.
—from Voyage dans l’anthropocène
Our current geological period—the period in which human activity has become the primary influence on the global environment—has been termed the Anthropocene. Although the name is recent, dating only from 2000, the era is considered by some to have started with the Industrial Revolution. The existence of the new era is based on global evidence that atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, biospheric, and Earth-system processes are now irreversibly altered by humans. In Journey into the Anthropocene, Blue Planet Prize-winning glaciologist Claude Lorius takes us on a trip to the South Pole, where Earth’s great ice banks inform us about our planet and ourselves.
Journey into the Anthropocene is part memoir and part lyrical retelling of the historical explorations of the South Pole. As we travel with Lorius, we are rewarded with beautifully written descriptions of the polar regions which, long ignored by civilization, have become a prime witness to its acts of alteration.
Lorius presents us with easily accessible but soundly scientific information about the state of the ice that is still left on Earth. He and his co-author, Laurent Carpentier, convey with clear beauty what the discoveries from the Antarctic tell us about the delicate balance of hot and cold that make it possible for us to live on Earth. As Lorius relates his half-century career as a glaciologist, we learn about the parallel story of the ice caps and of how humans became the principal geologic force on the planet. The book includes diary entries from Lorius’ year in Antarctica in 1957 and further anecdotes from his return trips, interspersed with his thoughts about what he finds and how it will change the planet and the people who live on it. Rather than sounding the death knell, he proposes that we are just on the verge of an exciting new era of responsibility for our environment and our descendents.
Laurent Carpentier : Laurent Carpentier is a journalist who specializes in the environment.
Claude Lorius : Claude Lorius is a world-renowned pioneer in climate research and winner of many prizes, including the Blue Planet Prize.