Backlight: The Age of Mankind

Human Interest
Alexander Oey
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An ocean that contains just as much plastic as fish, an atmosphere pumped full of CO2 and the massive extinction of animals. The destructive influence of mankind will be at least as disastrous as the asteroid’s impact that once caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs from the earth. This caused Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen to introduce a new geological era: the Anthropocene, or the age of man.

German explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was one of the first to fathom how everything in an ecosystem is interconnected.

Von Humboldt introduced the idea of the earth as a living organism into Western thinking, which eventually became the foundation for the later environmental movement. Today’s geologists also see the consequences of human impact strike at an ever increasing rate: global warming, plastic soup, nuclear fallout, a water balance disrupted by erosion and tar sands, higher CO2 concentrations and diminishing biodiversity.