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We are entering a new geological epoch -- the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans. Gaia Vince travelled the world to understand what this new age will mean for us, and future generations

** Winner of Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2015 **

We live in epoch-making times. The changes we humans have made in recent decades have altered our world beyond anything it has experienced in its 4.6 billion-year history. As a result, our planet is said to be crossing into the Anthropocene – the Age of Humans.

Gaia Vince decided to travel the world at the start of this new age to see what life is really like for the people on the frontline of the planet we’ve made. From artificial glaciers in the Himalayas to painted mountains in Peru, electrified reefs in the Maldives to garbage islands in the Caribbean, Gaia found people doing the most extraordinary things to solve the problems that we ourselves have created.

These stories show what the Anthropocene means for all of us – and they illuminate how we might engineer Earth for our future.

Reviews

A heroic and important work

Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

An excellent book... Vince writes with great freshness and vigour, and her stories are hard to stop reading

Daily Telegraph

It holds a mirror up to humanity and says: look what you have done to the world, the only world you will ever have... in every sense a good book, as well as a compelling read

Guardian

A masterpiece... a wondrous, remarkable, but heart-rending story

Ecologist

A masterpiece... a wondrous, remarkable, but heart-rending story

Ecologist

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

Ambitious and provocative... brilliant

Philip Hoare, author of LEVIATHAN and THE SEA INSIDE, Literary Review

Vince's broader discussions of the biological and Earth science are as cogent as her close reportage

Nature

A beautifully human and optimistic book filled with stories of ordinary people who simply refuse to give up

Howard Falcon-Lang, BBC Focus

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

A richly textured account of the post-wilderness years (and this year's winner of the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books)

Sumit Paul-Choudhury, Literary Review

A richly textured account of the post-wilderness years (and this year's winner of the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books)

Sumit Paul-Choudhury, Literary Review

Ms Vince's focus on individuals and places helps ground the science in reality... [her] case studies are fascinating

The Economist

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

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

Gaia Vince discovers how ingenious individuals around the world cope with the consequences of environmental changes and sees how our relationship with the natural world have evolved over the centuries

Popular science books for Christmas, The Times

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

Makes it easier to look at the Earth’s future without pessimism, and is a delight to read for the science alone

Gabriel Smith, Cotsworld Life

This is a transformative book and will inspire all of its readers to think more carefully about the way we interact with the environment

Colin Murray-Wallace, Australian Geologist

A world tour of how our transformation of the planet is playing out on the ground

Dougald Hine, Resurgence & Ecologist

holds a mirror up to humanity and says: look what you have done to the world, the only world you will ever have… a compelling read

Guardian, Tim Radford

A travelogue that tries to explain the enormous changes occurring on Earth at the level of the individual citizen.

Jonathan Amos, BBC

The book’s personal nature makes it a joy to read… Despite being densely filled with meticulously researched facts, it always flows like a good travel journal.

Samuel Tracey, Chemistry World

The book’s personal nature makes it a joy to read. Added to this is the book’s excellent structure, examining each habitat in turn…and looking at the solutions science might provide… Despite being densely filled with meticulously researched facts, it always flows like a good travel journal.

Samuel Tracey, Royal Society of Chemistry

The writing is fluent… I think this is an important book, which shows us what we have done to our world and what we might have to do if we are to survive in it. This is a book for anyone who cares about the planet and the environment.

Rebecca Kershaw, Nudge

Perhaps the best book so far to trace the epoch’s impacts on the world’s poor, and the slow violence that climate change metes out to them.

Robert Macfarlane, Guardian

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Formats & editions

  • EBook

    9781448128020

    July 3, 2014

    Vintage Digital

    448 pages

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Awards and Recognition

  • Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books
    2015
    Winner
    Royal Society Winton

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