Embracing the Anthropocene

Week in Review / by Lee Billings / March 19, 2010

The Earth has entered a new geological period in which human influence dominates the state of the planet, compounding uncertainty about the future.

Now In World

  • Ebbs and Flows

    Alien-yet-familiar worlds are discovered around distant stars, extreme weather batters the Earth, stimulus spending energizes renewables, and the stem-cell debate reignites.

  • All Consuming

    With population and per-capita consumption both on the rise, it's hard to believe humanity's impact on the Earth is sustainable. But what would happen if we ate less meat? Or gave women better education and more power? David Biello takes a critical look.

  • Two Wrongs from the Right

    The deaths of a climate scientist and of meaningful climate-change legislation bode poorly for a prosperous energy-independent future.

  • In Defense of Difference

    Scientists offer new insight into what to protect of the world's rapidly vanishing languages, cultures, and species.

  • Wanted: GM Seeds for Study

    A battle is quietly being waged between the industry that produces genetically modified seeds and scientists trying to investigate the environmental impacts of engineered crops. Although companies have recently given ground, researchers say these firms are still loath to allow independent analyses of their patented — and profitable — seeds.

  • Slow Burn

    Since 1962, a coal fire has been raging beneath Centralia, Pennsylvania, and it may continue burning for centuries. When the very ground beneath your feet catches fire, how can you extinguish the blaze?

  • Frozen Foodies

    The South Pole may be the most desolate region on Earth. But even at the bottom of the world, people have to eat. Here’s how they do it in Antarctica.

  • A Titanic Challenge

    What might a glut of hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico—and a dearth of them on Saturn's moon, Titan—imply about humanity's long-term prospects?

  • Is Population a Problem?

    Will 9 billion people max out the Earth's natural resources? Or is overconsumption the real planetary threat? Three experts discuss the Gordian knot of wealth, fertility, and environmental impact — and why making do with less stuff matters so much.

  • Pandora’s Seed

    From obesity to chronique fatigue syndrome, jihadism to urban ennui, the costs of civilization are becoming ever more apparent. Spencer Wells explores adapting to a world where accelerating change is the new status quo.


Rethinking Growth

Herman Daly applies a biophysical lens to the economy and finds that bigger isn’t necessarily better.


Tensions Rise in Cancún

Tensions rise into the second week of the UN climate meetings as the draft negotiating text receives mixed reviews. As the time to narrow down proposals dwindles, negotiators perform under heightened pressure to strike a deal.


Much At Stake In Cancún

As UN climate meetings started this week in Cancún, the deficit of trust between developing and developed countries is stunningly apparent. Overcoming this hurdle will be critical to COP-16 success—with political consequences that reach through the decade.


Building Science Leaders

Pop!Tech launches an initiative to cultivate a new class of science leaders—young researchers with the skills and drive to reach out, communicate their science, and lead society towards evidence-based solutions.

Now on feelingsandflowers.com

  • Ideas

    I Tried Almost Everything Else

    John Rinn, snowboarder, skateboarder, and “genomic origamist,” on why we should dumpster-dive in our genomes and the inspiration of a middle-distance runner.

  • Ideas

    Going, Going, Gone

    The second most common element in the universe is increasingly rare on Earth—except, for now, in America.

  • Ideas

    Earth-like Planets Aren’t Rare

    Renowned planetary scientist James Kasting on the odds of finding another Earth-like planet and the power of science fiction.

The Seed Salon

Video: conversations with leading scientists and thinkers on fundamental issues and ideas at the edge of science and culture.

Are We Beyond the Two Cultures?

Video: Seed revisits the questions C.P. Snow raised about science and the humanities 50 years by asking six great thinkers, Where are we now?

Saved by Science

Audio slideshow: Justine Cooper's large-format photographs of the collections behind the walls of the American Museum of Natural History.

The Universe in 2009

In 2009, we are celebrating curiosity and creativity with a dynamic look at the very best ideas that give us reason for optimism.

Revolutionary Minds
The Interpreters

In this installment of Revolutionary Minds, five people who use the new tools of science to educate, illuminate, and engage.

The Seed Design Series

Leading scientists, designers, and architects on ideas like the personal genome, brain visualization, generative architecture, and collective design.

The Seed State of Science

Seed examines the radical changes within science itself by assessing the evolving role of scientists and the shifting dimensions of scientific practice.

A Place for Science

On the trail of the haunts, homes, and posts of knowledge, from the laboratory to the field.


Witness the science. Stunning photographic portfolios from the pages of Seed magazine.

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