– a virtual travel experience

Earth has evolved into anthropocene,

the Human Epoch, an era in which humanity has altered the major physical systems of the planet by geoengineering the earth. This impact is worldwide, and began with the start of the industrial revolution in 1750 to 2010, creating a subsequent change in the Earth System – greenhouse gas levels, ocean acidification, deforestation and biodiversity deterioration.

Strong evidence, in recent decades, indicates that key components of the Earth System have moved beyond the natural variability exhibited in the last 12,000 years, a period geologists call the Holocene, the 10,000-year period of climate stability that birthed civilization. Srong indicators reveal that the Holocene no longer exists.

The Holocene, Latin for ‘entirely recent’, began at the end of the last ice age and provided the stability for agriculture to develop, leading eventually to townships and cities to flourish. All indicators reflect that we now live in the Anthropocene, a geological age of mankind’s making. Twelve indicators depict human activity: economic growth (GDP), population, foreign direct investment, energy consumption, telecommunications, transportation and water use.  Major environmental indicators reflect altered components of the Earth System: the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle and biodiversity.


  1. Carbon Dioxide Emissions :The result of burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas – are the energy that drives the world’s economy. Humans have added nearly 400 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere between 1870 and 2013, pushing carbon levels higher than at any point on human history. The last time they were this high was 800,000 years ago. Carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas,that causes atmospheric changes, pushing the average temperatures eer higher on the planet.  Some of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed into the oceans, increasing their acidity by 30 percent over the past 100 years. A change that has far reaching affects on oceanic ecosystems and the food chains that support underwater plant and animal life.
  2. Draining Rivers: All life depends heavily on the supply of fresh water from rivers, lakes, and aquifers. Reduced rainfall, caused by deforestation, and the construction of man-made dams, that divert water flow in inefficient ways has caused one fourth of Earth’s river basins run dry before ever reaching the ocean. Less water flowing through river basins has also altered local weather patterns. The Aral Sea, on the Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan border, was once the fourth largest lake, has shrunk by 75 percent, due to human activity. With the Aral Sea drying up it cannot absorb heat during the summer and keep the temperature mild during the winters, causing the local climate to change:, summers are now longer and hotter and the winters are colder. In the early 1960’s, the Soviet Union diverted water from the in-flowing rivers to irrigate rice and cotton crops in Central Asia. That reduced water flow caused salt concentrations to increase, making it inhabitable for the fish species to survive. These are but two examples.
  3. Black Carbon: Black carbon particles are released into the atmosphere in the form of smoke, produced by cooking with solid animal fuels, burning trees, and spewing diesel exhaust. When black carbon particles reach the atmosphere, they form a heat-absorbing layer that causes temperatures to rise. Raindrops tend to form around black carbon particles in the atmosphere, and when they fall to the ground, they absorb heat, magnifying their warming effect. 25 to 35 percent of black carbon in the global atmosphere was emitted by China and India from burning wood and cow dung in household cooking and heating homes. Arctic temperatures have risen by an estimated 3.4-degree-Fahrenheit. Scientists estimate that half of this rise can be attributed to black-carbon pollution.
  4. Industrial Agriculture: As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the amount of farmland needed to provide sufficient food. Over 40 percent of Earth’s surface is comprised of agricultural lands – lands once covered by forests. And three billion tons of CO2 enters the atmosphere every year from deforestation – 13 million hectares are destroyed annually , much of which is occurring in the Amazon rain forest. Because the rain forest is shrinking, its carbon-dioxide absorbing capacities are diminished, causing heat-trapping gas to reach the upper atmosphere, causing global temperatures to rise. Fertilizers used in farming have also had far-reaching effects, causing cast amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous to be injected into the ecosystems. 120 million tons of nitrogen are removed from the atmosphere each year and 20 million tons of phosphorous is mined from the ground in order to produce fertilizer to be used for farming. Runoff from farmland carries large amounts of fertilizer into rivers and streams that eventually drain into the sea. All of this fertilizer runoff creating rapidly expanding marine dead zones.
  5. Reef Destruction: Ocean reefs make up the world’s richest marine ecosystems. Their demise is disturbing the flow of nutrients and energy that support animal and plant life in our oceans.  Due to water pollution, ocean acidification, overfishing, and climate change, it is estimated that 1/5 of global reefs are now dead and 1/4 of reef species may be dead by 2050.  Approximately 500 million people wordwide are dependent on reefs, as these are where many fish and other species start their lives.
  6. Plastic Production: Technological development has led to the invention of new materials, such as plastics,e made up of chemical compounds that can remain active in the environment for thousands of years, having lasting impacts on the delicate regulatory cycles and ecosystems. The world produces approximately 300 million tons of plastics annually – with 20-40 percent of that ending up in landfills, and another 10-20 million tons that makes it way to the oceans. It is estimated that 5.25 trillion plastic particles, weighing a total of 268,940 tons, are currently floating in the world’s oceans.



Comments are closed.