Smart cities: two words which suggest a glittering future of technology and progress, where digital technology will help out with everything from getting bins collected to ensuring your drive through the city is as smooth as possible. Or, alternatively, an Orwellian nightmare where the poor are tossed out of our shiny new cities in favor of the upper classes, while governments use new smart technologies to track our every move.
Finally, after years, it has got the attention. The sixth mass extinction. The loss of biological diversity is one of the most severe human caused global ecological problems. Hundreds of species and myriad populations are being driven to extinction every year. From the perspective of geological time, Earth’s richest biota ever is already well into a sixth mass extinction episode.
I have fed species greater than you, and I have starved species greater than you. My oceans. My soil. My flowing streams. My forests. They all can take you, or leave you.
For the past 12,000 years, human beings lived in a geological epoch called the Holocene, known for its relatively stable, temperate climes. It was, you might say, the California of planetary history. But it is coming to an end. Recently, we have begun to alter the Earth so drastically that, according to many scientists, a new epoch is dawning. After the briefest of geological vacations, we seem to be entering a more volatile period. The term Anthropocene, from the Ancient Greek word anthropos, acknowledges that humans are the major cause of the earth’s current transformation. The Anthropocene is not only…