Anthropocene is the new stage of human history characterized by the growing significance of human actions in the overall state of the planet. The climate change phenomenon, and the debates moving about it, are worrying, but not just because they may challenge the adaptive capability of individuals, societies, institutions, and other species. They are worrying because they illustrate, all too clearly, the inadequacy of our nascent efforts to respond to the challenges of the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans. We can at least begin to develop some basic principles that would support more effective institutional and policy responses. The challenges of the Anthropocene are not problems with solutions; rather, they are conditions, often highly coupled to other conditions and systems that can at best be managed. An important mechanism for managing Anthropogenic challenges is the conscious cultivation of technological, institutional, and social options, a toolkit for adapting rapidly to changes in Earth systems. The complex adaptive systems that characterize the Anthropocene are inherently unpredictable; it follows that predictions regarding future paths and outcomes should always be regarded skeptically. Because the Anthropocene is characterized by evolving conditions that will confront us with new ethical, social, and technological challenges, it demands continuous learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-39
Number of pages3
JournalIssues in science and technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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