Benjamin Dean Astronomy Lectures
Earth in Human Hands: A Cosmic View of our Planet’s Past, Present and Future
David Grinspoon, Planetary Science Institute
What are we doing here on this planet? Can a deep-time and deep-space viewpoint help us gain the perspective to create a sustainable civilization? Informed by comparative planetology and a survey of the major transitions in Earth history, David Grinspoon will describe a taxonomy of planetary catastrophes meant to illuminate the unusual nature of the “Anthropocene,” our current time of human-driven planetary changes, and reframe our environmental predicaments as part of a larger narrative of planetary evolution. This saga has now reached the pivotal moment when humans have become a major agent of global change, and geological and human history are becoming irreversibly conjoined. Is this a likely or even inevitable challenge facing other complex life in the universe? Possible implications for SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will be considered, as well as the choices our civilization faces in seeking to foster a wisely managed Earth.