Having finished Part III, and as I contemplate Part IV, which will be short, I ran across another instructive example of what Flatland is all about. I am referring to yet another book about the human prospect called Adventures in the Anthropocence by science journalist Gaia Vince. I will quote from the Salon interview. Here is Lindsay Abrams' introduction to that give & take.
The Anthropocene: Don’t worry about trying to pronounce it. Don’t even worry about whether or not geologists decide we've officially entered it. This is the Age of Man: the epoch of mass extinction, of rapidly acidifying oceans and of unprecedented climate change – transformation on a planetary scale, all of which we’ve brought on ourselves.
Gaia Vince, formerly the editor of the journal Nature and the magazine New Scientist and a current editor at the journal Nature Climate Change, has been seeing this all play out for years; for some added perspective, she took an 800-day trip around the world, encountering places where humanity’s influence on the planet is already abundantly evident – and where humans are trying to redirect that influence into something more favorable.
Problem-solving in the Anthropocene is a monumental task: If people aren’t moving mountains yet, Vince at least documents cases where they’re painting them, and, in Nepal, connecting them to WiFi. They’re creating artificial glaciers in Ladakh, using electrical currents to restore coral reefs in Bali and, back in New Jersey, trying to create artificial trees that can remove CO2 from the atmosphere much more effectively than their natural counterparts.
Vince, in other words, is an optimist. Or, to put it better, she believes in humanity’s power to change their world – for better or for worse.
The problems of the Anthropocene may be dire, and they’re definitely unequal, she tells Salon, but we have innovation on our side.