In the view of many scientists, our planet is crossing a geological boundary — from the Holocene into the Anthropocene, or Age of Man. The changes we have made in recent decades have been on such a scale, and conducted at such a speed, that we can be reckoned a force on a par with earth-shattering asteroids and planet-cloaking volcanoes. Coral reefs are disappearing, ice at the Poles is melting and whole islands are disappearing under rising seas.
For her book Adventures in the Anthropocene (Chatto & Windus), the science writer Gaia Vince travelled to places that have suffered most from human activity. She chronicles how people are adapting and making innovative changes in the name of survival — from a retired railway worker building artificial glaciers in the Himalayas to a man who made an island out of rubbish in the Caribbean. Last week, she talked about the book on Quirks & Quarks, the science programme of CBC/Radio-Canada.