Owen Gaffney is an Irishman based in Stockholm who works with a group of scientists on the Anthropocene – a concept developed by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen in 2000.
“The Anthropocene concept is that humans have pushed the earth into a new epoch,” Owen Gaffney, director of communications at Stockholm’s International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) tells The Local.
The programme is tasked with co-coordinating research into the multitude of processes (biological, chemical and physical) that occur in the world we live in, and how these interact with us humans.
Gaffney explains that since the end of the last ice age, the world was in a time period known as the Holocene, a period which oversaw the growth of the human species. The industrial revolution and massive growth of the fifties marked a turning point in modern civilization and today humans find themselves in a position where their actions impact their environment more than any other time.
“Now, we are changing the nitrogen cycle, the acidity of the oceans, earth’s land masses. We use an area the size of South America to grow our crops and an area the size of Africa for our livestock,” Gaffney observes.
“It’s a new concept, the idea that we have pushed the earth so far that we are in a new geological epoch.”
Together with Canadian anthropologist Felix Pharand Deschenes, Gaffney has created a video using data visualisation that illustrates the spread of globalisation and the extent of human impact on our Earth (below).
See on www.thelocal.se