The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene

Hurricane Florence Viewed from the Space Station

I’m currently reading Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin’s The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene. In the first couple of chapters, the authors lay down some history of the human interpretation of climate change. I find it mind-blowing that we understood our ability to affect this planet’s climate through our activities, and that we were discussing it, more than 200 years ago. Geologists like Thomas Jenkyn and enlightenment giant, George-Louis Leclerc (better known as the Comte de Buffon) both wrote and gave lectures on the topic.

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Rolling your own carbon offset scheme

Before going any further here, I want to make it clear that I’m well aware of the shortcomings of carbon offsetting, wonderfully satirised by the folks behind Cheat Neutral. However, carbon offsetting is undeniably better than doing nothing. And as sustainable as you might try to be, it probably isn’t enough. The World Resources Institute have calculated that we should be aiming for a maximum limit of two tons of CO₂ emissions per person, per year. And yet it is calculated that the average EU citizen incurs 9.1 tons of CO₂ emissions. The average US citizen emits about twice as much as this.

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Alexander Lees on the Lake District and the National Trust

‘[The Laked District is] desolate, and devoid of bird life. I think it is an environmental crime. We need to look at it as a wounded landscape. It has been changed over millennia by lots of different forces, and we are not letting it bounce back to the exciting wildlife-filled area it could be. Sheep moors or grouse-shooting estates are just like eucalyptus and cattle pastures.

‘They are analogous. There has been a huge amount of indoctrination over 100 years, convincing people that this is what landscape looks like.

‘But look at anywhere else in the world, this is a crime against nature. The National Trust has helped to rubber-stamp this vision as to how we should see the countryside.’

– Alexander Lees, Ecologist and Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University

Source: National Trust should be radical, says Hilary McGrady on BBC News