The Human Planet: Earth at the Dawn of the Anthropocene

Written by George Steinmetz

OPL BOOK SUMMARY:  George Steinmetz takes you on a bird’s eye journey around the world.  His aerial photos capture our natural places, harvesting of the biosphere, our dwellings, and all types of human changes to our living planet. George Steinmetz has traveled the world for more than 3 decades taking aerial photos for National Geographic, the New York Times, and other journals. Andrew Revkin is an award-winning science journalist, with 21 years at the New York Times. They both were born in the late 1950s when there were 2.8 billion people on earth and since then the population has accelerated to over 7.6 billion people. Together they share a stunning perspective of the dramatic changes humans have made to the planet.

In the dynamic planet section, we learn about The Big Lagoon area of Shark Bay. It is off the coast of Australia and is home to the world’s most diverse seagrass beds.  This habitat for many marine species is at risk due to the changing temperatures. On page 46, view the fierce conditions in the Danakil Depression of Ethiopia. The beautiful colors of this natural place are from chemical reactions. It is extremely acidic and temperatures are close to the boiling point.  Are those green pastures in China (page 55)? Actually no, it is Lake Tai, one of the largest freshwater lakes in China. Thirty years ago it was clear but now in the summer, it is covered in algae.  Enjoy the beauty of amazing migrations from Zebra’s in Botswana (page 70) to flamingos in Bolivia (page 71).

Soar with these photos from a different point of view. The enormity of our impact is breathtaking. Understanding the scale of the change to landscapes and ecosystems can be overwhelming.  We agree with George and Andrew that  this is the beginning.  We have the opportunity and the wherewithal to make changes for a better future. The Human Planet has a strong voice and is deeply rooted in love for people and the planet.

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