Anna Goodden (Allerton Grange Sixth Form) reviews Erle Ellis' 'Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction;

Participants in Worcester's Bookshelf project are all in year 11, 12 or 13 at UK state schools. They are asked to review the book in no more than 300 words, as well as to respond to the three prompts at the bottom of the page. Here Charlotte Wilson, who is studying at Allerton Grange Sixth Form, reviews Erle C. Ellis' book, Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction:

Erle Ellis’ ‘Anthropocene’ provides a profound, concise guide to the anthropology, philosophy and geology behind the concept of the Anthropocene. By looking into the past, present and future, Ellis highlights how instrumental the Anthropocene has been in shaping society and how it will continue to have an influence over the modern world. Through the inclusion of maps, tables and graphs, the book clearly illustrates to the reader how the Anthropocene has developed over time through things such as the rise in CO2 emissions and change in land use. The myth that climate change is a purely natural phenomena is quickly debunked by Ellis’s use of the Keeling Curve which highlights how human activity, such as the industrial revolution, is the main factor changing the Earth’s natural systems.

After the opening chapters of the book, Ellis progresses to discuss the role of politics within the Anthropocene and whether there is a viable way of nullifying its negative impacts on society. The themes discussed in the second part of this book are particularly important as climate change is beginning to become a more public discussion. Through the protests done by climate groups such as Extinction Rebellion, many people are being forced to accept that the Anthropocene is a reality. If the general population continues to stay ignorant of the issues behind the Anthropocene then the effects of climate change will be amplified. Whilst the book does talk the reader through the science behind the geologic time scale, the most striking messages are those that discuss the future and the inevitable consequences on the environment if governments continue their inaction.

Overall, Ellis leaves the reader with a sense of optimism as if the Anthropocene continues to be acknowledged rather than wilfully ignored, there is hope for the future.


Something I agreed with in the book was...

The challenges brought to earth systems as a result of recognising the existence of the Anthropocene because excessive human activity (such as deforestation and fossil fuel combustion) has fundamentally changed how we should approach the environment into the future.

Something I disagreed with in the book was...

That geoengineering is one of the surest ways to control the changing environment because whilst carbon capture and other local techniques of managing the climate is a direct way of managing the issues caused by the Anthropocene, on a large scale they are usually not effective.

Something I learnt from this book that I didn't know about this subject before was...

How geologists can date rocks through radiometric dating and stratigraphy to discover both when the rocks initially formed and how the characteristics of the lithosphere have changed over billions of years.