The text was first published as: Paul J. Crutzen: Geology of mankind—The Anthropocene. Nature, , The permission to republish. As I write, Paul Crutzen’s “Geology of mankind” has citations on Google Scholar. There have been eighteen new citations already this. em>Paul J. Crutzen assesses the environmental impact of humans during the past three centuries and argues that a daunting task lies.

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There have been eighteen new citations already this month. Two of the positions that Crutzen takes there have become famous, or in some circles notorious, among writers on the Anthropocene.

It takes up one page, page 23, of the January 3, issue of Nature. The issue is the first part of volumeor issue no.

On Terra Incognita: Crutzen’s “Geology of mankind” (part 1) – Made Ground

The main text runs to words, in six paragraphs and thirty sentences. All this goes with the form in which Crutzen was writing.


Suppose you were asked to prepare your own introduction to the Anthropocene, for absolute beginners, — words long, with a single-digit list geollogy further reading, a picture in the bottom left corner and a thirty-word pull quote in the top right.

What would it be?

Geology of mankind

And would it still be getting cited once a day in the scholarly literature come ? On the one hand: In contrast to the old geology, in which humankind was only an observer, this is a new geology of which we are also the producers.

A xrutzen of the physical world produced by the human species collectively.

The earth subordinated to humanity. On the other hand: Humans seen geologically, with all the strange effects of scale, distancing, and ghostliness that that must entail.

The second is not.

A third thing worth noting about the title: Crutzen does write about climate change and about ice layers, but there will be nothing about rocks or about fossils in his words. That suggests the possibility of a fascinating counter-factual. If the title was in fact chosen by an anonymous sub-editor rather than by Crutzen himself, and if that editor had happened to make a different choice, how differently might the debate about the Anthropocene epoch subsequently have developed?


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