Geoscience No. 25: The Anthropocene, the footprint of Humankind

The 25th issue of Geoscience, released in March 2021, features the Anthropocene, or how humankind has impacted Earth.
18 March 2021
Cover of Issue 25 of the Géosciences journal

Cover of Issue 25 of the Géosciences journal.

© BRGM

The term “Anthropocene” was coined by climatologist Paul Crutzen at the beginning of the 2000s. It means that, for the first time since the birth of humanity, humankind has left such a strong impact on the planet that it could be considered as a geological force in and of itself, thus potentially forming a new geological era.

The issue starts with the controversy concerning the concept of the Anthropocene era as a new geological epoch, in an article by Colin Waters, a member of the stratigraphy committee. He then discusses humankind’s major impacts on the Earth and how to correct them. Indeed, through its activity, humankind “remodels” the land, catchment basins and coastlines, abstracting the water, and mining the mineral resources of the Earth, at the risk of exhausting them. How can we meet these new challenges?

The issue also includes the interviews of François Gemenne, author of the Anthropocene atlas, and Jean Daniel Rinaudo, a sociologist-economist specialised in water resources. A portfolio on research on the Orleans grit chamber and a field notebook on soil depollution processes recorded at the Prime experimental pilot facility, complete the issue.