The End of the World As We Know It, or I Got an Anthropocene Book Deal

Humanity is now writing a new chapter in Earth’s history. The choices we make now will help set the thermostat of the entire planet for at least tens of thousands of years. If people, plants and animals don’t like the climate of 2100, 2500 or even 25000, they will have us to blame. And if human civilization is to persist to see that climate, we have our work cut out for us.

Which is why I’m writing a book. We are the first life to transform this planet with the possibility of consciousness about it, terraforming terra herself as a result of our actions (albeit mostly unwittingly to date). If we want to ensure that the Anthropocene is more than a blip in the history of the planet, it will take all of our smarts and our technology to begin to master formerly natural systems, such as short-circuiting the millennia it takes to recycle water or the eons nature requires to turn tons of old, dead plants into fossil fuels.

This is not about preserving Nature with a capital N or bringing stasis to what is (and always has been) the dynamic flux of life, chemistry and plate tectonics. This is about managing change, adapting and ensuring the resilience of our civilization, our fellow life and even our planet.

I’ll be chronicling my efforts to craft a narrative history out of that topic here. So set out on this journey of disillusionment with me? Any and all help, insights, pro tips or just words of encouragement truly welcome. Welcome to the Anthropocene.

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About David Biello

I am an award-winning journalist writing primarily about the environment and energy. I am working on a book about whether the planet has entered a new geologic age as a result of human impacts and, if so, what we should do about this Anthropocene. I’ve been writing for Scientific American since November 2005 and have written on subjects ranging from astronomy to zoology for both the Web site and magazine. I’ve been reporting on the environment and energy since 1999—long enough to be cynical but not long enough to be depressed. I am the host of the 60-Second Earth podcast, a contributor to the Instant Egghead video series and author of a children’s book on bullet trains. I also write for publications ranging from the L.A. Review of Books to Yale e360, speak on radio shows such as WNYC’s The Takeaway, NHPR’s Word of Mouth, and PRI’s The World as well as host the duPont-Columbia award winning documentary “Beyond the Light Switch” for PBS. I also happen to think Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species is a surprisingly good read.
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