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November 11, 2015 - 9:45 am

Why did behaviorally modern humans and no other multicellular species in the history of the Earth gain the capacity to transform an entire planet? Biology alone cannot explain this – Homo sapiens is just another …

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The ecological systems that suppport all life, including ours

Global Change

Humans are changing the earth, causing global warming, biodiversity loss and pollution


Anthropogenic Biomes (anthromes) are the global ecosystems created by humans


Understanding the processes that sustain human populations and their ecosystems


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Articles tagged with: human impacts

The remotest place on Earth

January 29, 2010 - 2:34 pm

People are everywhere these days, but if you really want to “get away from it all”, the remotest place on Earth, aside from Antarctica, turns out to be Tibet. This from a New Scientist article …

China’s villages are changing the world

January 8, 2010 - 8:35 pm

If you still think of rural China as remote, traditional, and unchanged for millennia, think again. China’s ancient village landscapes are among the most dynamic and densely populated on Earth, with a global extent more …

Carbonware: Googling forests, Windows on your carbon

December 18, 2009 - 7:36 pm

With carbon, climate and COP 15 in the news, Google and Microsoft are now battling over carbon mindshare, introducing the latest web-based “Carbonware” designed to help combat carbon emissions and global warming. These add to …

Inconvenient food for thought

December 14, 2009 - 8:35 pm

“How do we feed a growing world without destroying the planet?” asks Jon Foley’s new 3 minute video (see below).
It’s a great question. To get enough food for our existing billions, we already use about …

On Doctoring the Planet

December 8, 2009 - 10:49 am

Our planet is heating up in a hurry! Call in the Earth doctors! Let’s fix the planet!
Now that we’ve pushed Earth systems out of the comfort zone, Earth and environmental scientists are increasingly being called …

Tools for the Carbon Economy

October 26, 2009 - 5:01 pm

By Jonathan Dandois
Will the census of the future ask homeowners how many trees they have on their property?
With humanity now faced with a changing climate under even the most stringent efforts to reduce carbon emissions, …

Looking Back at the Cradle in the Rear-view Mirror

October 6, 2009 - 9:56 am
Planetary Boundaries (1.0)

Are humans pushing earth systems towards environmental catastrophe? Or are we just worrying needlessly about the novel state of the earth that we have now created? Or both?
In a Nature Feature entitled “A safe operating …

Burning the biosphere before you were born

August 21, 2009 - 10:37 pm

Millennia before humans discovered coal, indeed, millennia before there was civilization, Homo sapiens had discovered fire and was making extensive use of it. In a study just published by Bill Ruddiman and myself (Ruddiman and …

The Nature within now matters most

July 23, 2009 - 10:28 am

Should we conserve nature even if it is not wild? Humans have transformed 40% of earth’s ice-free land into crop fields, pastures and settlements, and have embedded another 37% within used and populated landscapes (anthromes). …

The tortoise and the hummer (and the nano!)

July 17, 2009 - 10:04 pm

Today, the Tata Nano (Wikipedia entry), the first “people’s car” of the 21st century, rolled out of a dealership in Mumbai, hitting the streets at 56 miles per gallon (and 1300 lbs; its a 4 …