The last 250 years have been most unusual in human history and the time since the end of World War II has been incredible. Our ancestors would not recognize our lives today in their wildest dreams.
In my lifetime, the population of humans on the planet has nearly tripled, from 2.6 billion to over 7.1 billion people. Our consumption of goods and services, particularly in the nations of the world that first industrialized, has reached levels unimagined just a few generations ago.
I wrote about these phenomenal times last fall in my blog post Welcome to the Anthropocene. The idea of the Anthropocene is that humans have now become the “great force for change in the natural world.” This was the topic of my 2015 Geddes Simpson Memorial lecture titled Open Season on Chickadees.
Since we all have lived our lives in this extraordinary time in human history, it is hard for use to appreciate how different our lives are compared to our ancestors. We need some way to appreciate intuitively these changes. We need a guide to this new Epoch called the Anthropocene.
Using the talk I gave last fall on this topic, I am pleased to make available on my UMaine School of Economics page: