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Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet we… (2014)

por Gaia Vince

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We live in epoch-making times. Literally. The changes we humans have made in recent decades have altered our world beyond anything it has experienced in its 4.5 billion-year history -- we have become a force on a par with earth-shattering asteroids and planet-cloaking volcanoes. As a result, our planet is said to be crossing a geological boundary -- from the Holocene into the Anthropocene, or Age of Man. Quitting her job at science journal Nature, Gaia Vince decided to travel the world at the start of this new age, to explore what all these changes really mean for the people living on the frontline of the planet we've made. She found ordinary people solving severe crises in ingenious, effective ways. Take the retired railway worker who's building artificial glaciers in the Himalayas, for example, or the man who's painting mountains white to attract snowfall. Meet the villagers harvesting water out of the desert air and farmers combining the latest genetic modifications with ancient irrigation techniques; witness the electrified reefs in the Maldives and the man who's making islands out of rubbish in the Caribbean. Alongside these extraordinary stories, Gaia looks at how humanity's changes are reshaping the living planet and identifies some of the ways we need to engineer Earth for our future, bringing to life what the Anthropocene means for all of us and how we might survive the coming centuries.… (más)
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“Adventures in the Anthropocene” by Gaia Vince is a remarkable book, and I am glad I read it.

In contrast with many books on climate change that point us towards a doomsday scenario, Gaia points us towards people who are taking action to make our world a better place. She has traveled across the world into some remote regions. Along the way, she has met some extraordinary people. It’s good that she has introduced us to them.

She has structured the book very well. I like it. Each chapter begins with a scientific introduction to the subject, be it glaciers, forests, or even cities. Then she dives into her travels. She describes the initiatives people are taking to make this world a better place. These are unknown, uncelebrated, unheralded people. Some of them are battling fierce odds that include threats to their lives. They are inspirational people.

Some topics, such as bio-engineering or the future role of cities, arouse little optimism in me. The book is delightful. Her arguments resonate with me.

Please read it. ( )
  RajivC | Sep 14, 2020 |
Our planet is constantly changing. The energy that it receives from the sun drives the weather systems across the globe and feeds the plants that keep the oxygen cycle going. The internal processes of plate tectonics and erosion mean that the landscapes are constantly changing too. But now there is an extra factor too, our love of fossil fuels is changing the atmosphere in ways that we cannot fully understand, though the trends are there if you care enough to look. The data on all these changes is immense, so Gaia Vince, editor at Nature, decided the best way to understand the immensity of the changes happening would be to go and see it herself.

Her travels takes her to the rooftop of the world to see artificial glaciers being created, mountains being painted white to increase the albedo and looks at the positive and negative effects of dams. She tracks across deserts, climbs mountains, tiptoes through sewage and walks on one man's solution to the rising sea levels; floating islands and speaks to the head of a country that is going to disappear under the waves in the next few years.

It is an interesting book on the way that we have changed the planet so far and the long-term implications for dramatic change. As the world changes in dramatic ways, she sees human ingenuity in solving the problems that are being raised as the climate changes. By going to these places herself and seeing the problems first hand, she gets a better overall view of the state of the globe and thankfully does not hold back with her opinions as to what is happening. Even though it is four years since it was published, it is still a prescient book, but it would be nice to have a revised edition soon. The only downside for me was the epilogue; it was a very speculative and even hopeful vision of our world in 2100, a planet that had changed in so many ways; I can't imagine that it would be as comfortable as that. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
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A theme the size of a planet demands its own disciplined form of exploration, and Vince has a formula: select a topic – atmosphere, rocks, farmland, cities, etc – preface the direct reportage with an introductory little essay and then wind up each adventure with a second look at the big challenges. ... In a chapter that begins with the sea level rise that will soon drown the atolls of the Maldives, she meets a Caribbean islander who built an island out of garbage and planted it with papaya and coconuts and even built houses on it. In every chapter, there are terrific stories like these, glimpses of the other world that perhaps we could have made for ourselves.

Necessarily, to get around a topic that embraces all human history and all geography too, she has to be brief, and so in every chapter, she leaves you wanting more. This is usually considered to be a good thing. Good or not, it is difficult to see – given the ambitions of such a book – what else she could have done. And if she helps readers understand a little better the loss and suffering lies behind the extraction of the rare earths that go into the making of a smartphone, or the economic and ecological folly of clearing a tropical forest to raise more beef for cheap hamburgers, then it becomes in every sense a good book, as well as a compelling read.
añadido por Cynfelyn | editarGuardian, Tim Radford (Sep 23, 2015)
 
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We live in epoch-making times. Literally. The changes we humans have made in recent decades have altered our world beyond anything it has experienced in its 4.5 billion-year history -- we have become a force on a par with earth-shattering asteroids and planet-cloaking volcanoes. As a result, our planet is said to be crossing a geological boundary -- from the Holocene into the Anthropocene, or Age of Man. Quitting her job at science journal Nature, Gaia Vince decided to travel the world at the start of this new age, to explore what all these changes really mean for the people living on the frontline of the planet we've made. She found ordinary people solving severe crises in ingenious, effective ways. Take the retired railway worker who's building artificial glaciers in the Himalayas, for example, or the man who's painting mountains white to attract snowfall. Meet the villagers harvesting water out of the desert air and farmers combining the latest genetic modifications with ancient irrigation techniques; witness the electrified reefs in the Maldives and the man who's making islands out of rubbish in the Caribbean. Alongside these extraordinary stories, Gaia looks at how humanity's changes are reshaping the living planet and identifies some of the ways we need to engineer Earth for our future, bringing to life what the Anthropocene means for all of us and how we might survive the coming centuries.

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