Upper Bavaria, 2015
Many people view the Anthropocene merely as the sum of all environmental problems. For me it is also the process of becoming aware of our collective responsibility in shaping the future Earth. Can we create a better or even positive geological record that will later tell the story of a planet that regenerated from exploitation?
Please join in for this gathering of artists, environmentalists, explorers and friends looking into the insights and implications of this proposed new geological epoch and celebrate publication of The Anthropocene: The Human Era and How It Shapes Our Planet, by Christian Schwägerl, with a foreword by Paul Crutzen.
Award-winning environmental science journalist, Christian Schwägerl spent ten years investigating our current global ecological crises. In this thoroughly researched book, Christian asks us to consider pivotal questions about our global impact as a species, and offers positive, life-affirming strategies. Schwägerl illustrates how by increasing our responsibility as planetary stewards, we can create a more vibrant, ecologically-sustainable future.
Standing in the Hirabari grove, I wondered: was this other type of nature – urban, man-made and the total opposite of “pristine” and “untouched” – also “real” nature and worth protecting? I didn’t have much time to ponder this question. Construction workers arrived. The sound of chainsaws filled the air. The real-estate developers had won. From “The Independent”.
Erle Ellis, a geographer from the University of Maryland, had his Anthropocene epiphany quite some time ago, when he was hiking on Squirrel Island off the coast of Maine. On a sandy beach he spotted a glittering object at his feet that looked like a relic from a mysterious, undersea world. It was a rock about the size of a tennis ball, strangely deformed, as if water had been eroding it for millions of years. Ellis was excited and put his find in his pocket. Only a hundred metres further along, however, his dreams of having discovered a natural wonder were dashed when he came across a small rubbish dump. There, the islanders had deposited and set afire all kinds of garbage. In his pocket was a melted piece of civilization…
“Welcome to the Anthropocene” is the world’s first large special exhibition about the idea of Nobel Laureate Paul J Crutzen that a new geological epoch has started, characterized by human activity. The exhibition is shown at Deutsches Museum Munich, one of the world’s largest technology museums, until January 2016. My book “The Anthropocene” triggered this project and I was part of Nina Möllers’ team as an external curator.
When you enter the Anthropocene exhibition at Deutsches Museum Munich, you immediately see a key feature: the Anthropocene Wall. We have chosen machines from the museum’s amazing collection (the largest in the world). They represent that technologies that have accelerated, influenced and shaped the “Epoch of Humans” so far.
What will future humans be able to read about us from the stuff we leave behind? We tried to approach thos question in a playful way in the special exhibition “Welcome to the Anthropocene” at Deutsches Museum Munich: Each of our six thematic “plates” has a cylinder with hypothetical “future fossils”.
Berlin-Mitte, May 2015