We live in epoch-making times. Literally. The changes we humans have made in recent decades have altered our world beyond anything it has experienced in its 4.5 billion-year history -- we have become a force on a par with earth-shattering asteroids and planet-cloaking volcanoes.
As a result, our planet is said to be crossing a geological boundary -- from the Holocene into the Anthropocene, or Age of Man.
Gaia Vince decided to quit her job at science journal Nature, and travel the world at the start of this new age to explore what all these changes really mean -- especially for the people living on the frontline of the planet we’ve made.
She found ordinary people solving severe crises in ingenious, effective ways. Take the retired railway worker who’s building artificial glaciers in the Himalayas, for example, or the Peruvian painting mountains white to retain snowfall. Meet the villagers in India using satellite technology to glean water; and the women farmers in Africa combining the latest genetic discoveries with ancient irrigation techniques; witness the electrified reefs in the Maldives and the man who’s making islands out of rubbish in the Caribbean.
Alongside these extraordinary -- and inspiring -- stories, Gaia looks at how humanity's changes are reshaping our living planet, transforming our relationship with the natural world, and explores how we might engineer Earth for our future.
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An excellent book... Vince writes with great freshness and vigour, and her stories are hard to stop reading - Daily Telegraph
A heroic and important work with a happy ending - Sunday Times
Ambitious and provocative... brilliant - Literary Review
A story of optimism about how 10 billion people can in future live together and prosper... Fresh and unencumbered. Vince glides from ecology to economics, politics to philosophy, seeing it all through the people she meets - New Scientist
A beautifully human and optimistic book filled with stories of ordinary people who simply refuse to give up - BBC Focus
Ms Vince's focus on individuals and places helps ground the science in reality... [her] case studies are fascinating - The Economist
A beautifully written book that raises the most profound question of our time: 'How should we live?' In the past, this has been primarily a personal question. But, as Gaia Vince amply demonstrates, what was once a personal question has become the central question for us as a species -- and the fate of nearly every species on our planet (including our own) rests on our answer. - Ken Caldeira, Professor of Environmental Earth Systems Sciences, Stanford University
I love this book. Gaia Vince effortlessly weaves individual stories into an epic, global narrative, to present us with a positive vision of a humane, brave new world - Alice Roberts
A fine and timely book. Gaia Vince shows us how to stay steady and cheerful despite the ever intensifying drama of the Anthropocene - James Lovelock
Fascinating, troubling and remarkably cool-headed - Wanderlust
Gaia's remarkable journey is a unique inventory of life on earth, both wild and human, at this important moment in our history. - Bill Oddie
Waht is the Anthropocene world really like? Science editor and journalist Gaia Vince set off to find out... Highly recommended - Geologist
A brilliant book, full of examples of fighting back against climate change in unexpected and courageous ways - Tim Flannery, founder of The Climate Council, Australia; Chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council
Our species has exploded into a new kind of force – one species able to alter the physical, chemical and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale. Gaia Vince’s important book provides the evolutionary, temporal and biophysical context to show with clarity the stunning speed and magnitude of the human footprint on the planet. She manages to inspire with hope while conveying a cry of urgency. - David Suzuki, author of THE SACRED BALANCE
Have you seen the state of our planet? Gaia Vince has. She travelled the globe for two years to investigate what we are doing to it, and this heroic feat of reporting is the result. She, and her readers, are left wiser, sometimes sadder, but still holding on to a core optimism about possible futures for our world. - Jon Turney, author of THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE FUTURE
A literal walk through the far reaches of our planet, a biosphere now governed as much by human activity as by the forces of nature. We should take heed of these hard won stories by Gaia Vince, and wise up - David Buckland, International Director, Cape Farewell
Vince's broader discussions of the biological and Earth science are as cogent as her close reportage - Nature
Makes it easier to look at the Earth’s future without pessimism, and is a delight to read for the science alone - Cotsworld Life
About the Author
Gaia Vince is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in science and the environment. She has been the front editor of the journal Nature Climate Change, the news editor of Nature and online editor of New Scientist. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, The Times, Science, Scientific American, Australian Geographic and the Australian. She has a regular column, Smart Planet, on BBC Online, and devises and presents programmes about the Anthropocene for BBC radio. She blogs at WanderingGaia.com and tweets at @WanderingGaia.