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      The Anthropocene: From Global Change to Planetary Stewardship

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          Abstract

          Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twenty-first century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet's capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival global geophysical processes, suggests that we need to fundamentally alter our relationship with the planet we inhabit. Many approaches could be adopted, ranging from geoengineering solutions that purposefully manipulate parts of the Earth System to becoming active stewards of our own life support system. The Anthropocene is a reminder that the Holocene, during which complex human societies have developed, has been a stable, accommodating environment and is the only state of the Earth System that we know for sure can support contemporary society. The need to achieve effective planetary stewardship is urgent. As we go further into the Anthropocene, we risk driving the Earth System onto a trajectory toward more hostile states from which we cannot easily return.

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          Most cited references28

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          Environment and development. Sustainability science.

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            XXXI.On the influence of carbonic acid in the air upon the temperature of the ground

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              The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era Began Thousands of Years Ago

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                AMBIO
                AMBIO
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0044-7447
                1654-7209
                November 2011
                October 12 2011
                November 2011
                : 40
                : 7
                : 739-761
                Article
                10.1007/s13280-011-0185-x
                3357752
                22338713
                ebfc7b94-ef0f-4a3c-acd5-c04329794e71
                © 2011

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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