- Jul 2022
The trajectory of theAnthropocene: The GreatAcceleration
- Title: The trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration
- Author: Steffen, Will; Broadgate, Wendy; Deutsch, Lisa; Gaffney, Owen and Ludwig, Cornelia Date: 2015
- Deep Humanity
- Lisa Deutsch
- Stop Reset Go
- Cornelia Ludwig
- Wendy Broadgate
- The Great Acceleration
- Owen Gaffney
- Will Steffen
In the deep past these setbacks were local. The overall experiment of civilization kept going, often by moving from an exhausted ecology to one with untapped potential. Human numbers were still quite small. At the height of the Roman Empire there are thought to have been only 200 million people on Earth. Compare that with the height of the British Empire a century ago, when there were two billion. And with today, when there are nearly eight. Clearly, things have moved very quickly since the Industrial Revolution took hold around the world. In A Short History of Progress, I suggested that worldwide civilization was our greatest experiment; and I asked whether this might also prove to be the greatest progress trap. That was 15 years ago.
Indeed, Wright is right to ask: Is our modern human civilization the greatest progress trap of all?
Exponential technological progress has shortened the time for dangerous levels of resource extraction and pollution loads to the extent that we face the potential of cascading global tipping points and enter a "hothouse earth" state: https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1810141115
Were this to happen, there is no place on earth that would be immune.
In hindsight, the unfortunate but predictable trend is one of every increasing size of progress traps, and ever shorter time windows when serious impacts occur. Today, it appears we have reached the largest size progress trap possible on a finite planet.
Since 1945 this “Great Acceleration” has permitted the tripling of the human population and the crowding-out of the rest of the planet’s biosphere. Lewis and Maslin tell us: “Populations of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals have declined by an average of 58 percent over the last forty years… On land, if you weighed all the large mammals on the planet today, just 3 percent of that mass is living in the wild. The rest is made up of human flesh, some 30 percent of the total, with domesticated animals that feed us contributing the remaining 67 percent.”
Fourth Transition: The Great Acceleration
Will Steffen et al: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2053019614564785
- Apr 2021
The Climate Council’s new report, released today, shows the immense cost of this inaction. It is now virtually certain Earth will pass the critical 1.5℃ temperature rise this century – most likely in the 2030s.
Ein neuer Report des australischen Climate Council kommt zu dem Ergebnis, dass die 1,5°-Grenze "virtuell sicher" überschritten werden wird, mit größter Wahrscheinlichkeit in den 2030er Jahren. Will Steffen, einer der bekanntesten Klimawissenschaftler und Mitautor wichtiger Studien über die Tipping Points, ruft dazu auf, mit aller Energie um jedes Zehntelgrad zu kämpfen. Failure is not an option. Australia must radically scale up its climate targets now | Climate change | The Guardian
- Oct 2017