The impacts of human actions on our home planet are now so large that many scientists are declaring a new phase of Earth’s history.
The old forces of nature that transformed Earth many millions of years ago, including meteorites and mega-volcanoes are joined by another: us.
We have entered a new geological epoch, called the Anthropocene.
As scientists we agree that society has entered a dangerous new time. But what is to be done?
In our new book, The Human Planet, published on Thursday, we present a new view of how humans climbed down from the trees of Africa to become a geological superpower.
We argue that to avoid ever-larger environmental changes causing a societal collapse, we need to acknowledge the incredible power that modern society possesses and direct it towards a shift to a new type of society in the 21st Century.
Our influence is more profound than many of us realize.
Globally, human activities move more soil, rock and sediment each year than is transported by all other natural processes combined.
The total amount of concrete produced by humans is enough to cover the entire Earth’s surface with a layer two millimetres thick. Micro-plastics are found in every ocean.
We have cut down half of Earth's trees, losing three trillion, with extinctions becoming commonplace.
Greenhouse gas emissions are rising, scientists’ extreme weather predictions appear to be coming true, the air in our cities is becoming dangerous, groundwater is getting scarce, ocean health and fish stocks are declining, forests and natural habitats are being destroyed, plastic in our ocean is out of control and researchers warn that a “biological annihilation” of wildlife means a human-driven sixth mass extinction event is underway.