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The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene

Author(s): Simon Lewis, Mark Maslin

Penguin, London , 2018, pp. 480 (pb)

The authors are proponents of the theory that there is a geological epoch, which can be defined by the irreversible impact of human activity. The early stages of human development, from hunter-gatherers to settled farmers, had some environmental impact. But Lewis and Maslin trace the beginnings of a decisive human impact on the planet to the 16th-17th centuries when western colonialism, linked to the rise of global capitalism, began to transform the Americas, followed by the industrial revolution and the growth in population and consumption. The book concludes by calling for a new stage in human development involving radical economic change (away from profit-driven ownership of energy and food supplies), linked to comprehensive technological changes and much closer global cooperation. Two goals they set out are a re-wilding of half the planet and a universal basic income.