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What is the Anthropocene?

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The world has reached a moment where human impact is as significant as the geologic forces of the past—The Anthropocene. 

illustration of earth on a precipice
By Cheng (Lily) Li, Hadly Lab alumna

In the past 50 years, humanity flipped a switch.  We changed our status on the Earth.  Today, humanity determines the fates of most other life forms. 

We also alter the workings of the abiotic Earth systems.  Our activities now shape the ancient global circulation cycles that brought life into being and sustain it: atmospheric, hydrological, and geological.

Nature has become a subset of humanity.  Our sheer numbers, our turbo-charged conversion of ecosystems into human-made artifacts like roads and housing, our cultivation and consumption of domestic animals including cattle, have driven self-willed nature to the sidelines. 

Welcome to the Anthropocene.

Read about our research using the fossil record to pinpoint the start of the Anthropocene