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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 systems

A tale of two planets: The Anthropocene revisited

April 30, 2013 - 2:41 am

Is the Anthropocene recent? Defined solely by the accelerating impacts of an industrial society that threatens the future of both humanity and the biosphere (Barnosky et al., 2012, Rockstrom et al., 2009)? A closer look at …

Thinking Systems

December 16, 2011 - 11:34 pm

As the fate of the Earth system becomes ever more intertwined with human systems, “thinking in systems” has become more essential than ever. I’ve read books on systems theory (e.g. Allen & Hoekstra 1993), but …

Malthus is still wrong: energetic limits to human systems

January 27, 2011 - 4:48 pm

“Large amounts of energy will be required to fuel economic growth, increase standards of living, and lift developing nations out of poverty.” (Brown et al., 2011; see Figure at left).
A key message from Brown et …

Saved! by Ester Boserup

January 11, 2011 - 3:52 pm

Human populations grow until they overshoot their carrying capacity and collapse. Game over. Thank you Malthus! (1798; and Ehrlich 1968).
Not so fast! There’s something wrong with this story: it almost never happens. Human populations do …

Brave new biosphere

November 9, 2010 - 1:31 pm

What kind of biosphere do you want? Great question! And great to see it connected with beautiful prize-winning graphics at visualizing.org. But on thinking further, it seems clearer than ever that the inspiration behind this- …

The Biosphere we created: 1700 to 2000

August 5, 2010 - 10:41 am

“So how did the biosphere become anthropogenic anyway?” asked an astute audience member at my 2007 AGU presentation (powerpoint). I had just given a presentation on my work with Navin Ramankutty demonstrating that human populations …

On observing human nature

July 19, 2010 - 10:47 am

Ecologists are studying the least human parts of the most human ecosystems and the most human parts of the wildest ecosystems while favoring the Temperate zone over the Tropics (Nature News Article by Zoë Corbyn: …

Used biosphere for sale (looks good on paper)

May 19, 2010 - 6:50 pm