Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

DEFIANT EARTH: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene by Clive Hamilton

  • Written by  Mick Herron
  • Published in Books
DEFIANT EARTH: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene by Clive Hamilton
02 Jul
2017
Our new epoch started with a bang

The rapid increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere began with the Industrial Revolution but really kicked in during 1945, with the first nuclear detonations, and has effectively split the planet’s history in two: the initial 4.5 billion years of its existence in thrall to blind natural forces; the remaining five billion, between now and the death of the sun, irrevocably to be governed by human agency, even after our species has expired.

The term ‘Anthropocene’, Hamilton argues, is intended to describe this rupture in the functioning of the Earth System (the notion that the planetis a unified, evolving, complex system rather than an aggregate of individual ecosystems), and only became accepted in the last few decades. Much of Hamilton’s book is geared towards emphasising these definitions, and refuting alternative claims that the Anthropocene is simply the period during which human activity has acted as a major factor in modifying landscape and environment; that it merely acts as a measure of the human footprint, and is thus neutral, if not positively benign.

Having established his ground, he goes on to examine the implications of the new epoch, and the new ways of thinking it demands from us. We are, he explains, in the middle of a power struggle, one in which humans are attempting to drag the Earth into our sphere of influence, but which the Earth is resisting through an increasingly energised climate system: more droughts, storms, heatwaves, and so on. Drawing his observations from the humanities as much as the sciences, Hamilton offers a robust view of the current state of play; not a warning – we’re past that stage – but an attempt at understanding.

Click here to purchase Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene by Clive Hamilton

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe to Geographical!

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The green dragon awakens
    China has achieved remarkable economic success following the principle of developing first and cleaning up later. But now the country with the world's...
    Hung out to dry
    Wetlands are vital storehouses of biodiversity and important bulwarks against the effects of climate change, while also providing livelihoods for mill...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by Alanna Mitchell • Oneworld • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Christopher J Preston • The MIT Press • £20.95…

Books

by Jamal Mahjoub • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Joanna Kafarowski • Dundurn Press • 15.99 (hardback)

Books

by Peter Dauvergne • Polity Books • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Mary Beard and David Olusoga • Profile Books •…

Exhibitions

It’s hard to imagine life without the visual world upfront…

Books

by Patrick Winn • Icon Books • £14.99 (paperback)

Books

by Mark Nelson • UA Press • £21.99 (paperback)

Books

by Ed Douglas and John Beatty • Vertebrate Publishing •…

Books

by Tristan Gooley • Sceptre Books • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Adam Weymouth • Particular Books • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by David Runciman • Profile Books • £14.99 (hardback)

Films

Blockbuster dinosaur sequel asks probing questions about humans’ ethical responsibilities…

Films

Are kangaroos a great icon for Australia? Or a natural…

Exhibitions

New exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery by photojournalist Lizzie Sadin,…

Books

by Tim Marshall • Elliott & Thompson • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Inara Verzemnieks • Pushkin Press • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Andy Kirkpatrick • Vertebrate Publishing • £24 (hardback)

Books

edited by Paul Hawken • Penguin • £16.99 (paperback)