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Adventures in the Anthropocene book review

Adventures in the Anthropocene book review

I started reading Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made just as the wave of optimism from the Paris COP21 summit at the end of 2015 washed over us, for me a momentary relief in an overwhelming tide of bleak pessimism about our prospects as a species.

Gaia Vince’s book, which chronicles her journey across the globe to meet the people on the frontline of climate change, brought me somewhat crashing back to the stark reality of the enormity of the problems we face.

Divided into chapters on the earth systems that have all been bent towards human will whether that be the way we’ve reshaped earth’s crust through mining, or destroyed or drastically changed entire ecosystems through our use and abuse of forest and river systems, it’s both amazing and terrifying the grand scale that we humans have shaped the planet.

The biggest hope was in the enterprising individuals the author met along the way achieving extraordinary things. Whether it be Mahabir building Internet infrastructure in Nepal or Norphel building glaciers as a form of water storage for irrigation in India, or Kyle Weins encouraging a culture of repair and re-use of modern gadgets, all these people have found a problem and decided if they don’t fix it, there’s no time to wait for anyone else to. I hope that this is what we will see more of in the next decade. Co-ordinated global action has seemed so slow to get started it will be overtaken by individuals and local communities pushing the boundaries to solve issues they are hitting now, not some indeterminate point in the future.

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