The Anthropocene: From Global Change to Planetary Stewardship (2011)

Will Steffen*, Åsa Persson, Lisa Deutsch, Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Katherine Richardson, Carole Crumley, Paul J. Crutzen, Carl Folke, Line Gordon, Mario Molina, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Johan Rockström, Marten Scheffer, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Uno Svedin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twenty-first century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet’s capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival global geophysical processes, suggests that we need to fundamentally alter our relationship with the planet we inhabit. Many approaches could be adopted, ranging from geoengineering solutions that purposefully manipulate parts of the Earth System to becoming active stewards of our own life support system. The Anthropocene is a reminder that the Holocene, during which complex human societies have developed, has been a stable, accommodating environment and is the only state of the Earth System that we know for sure can support contemporary society. The need to achieve effective planetary stewardship is urgent. As we go further into the Anthropocene, we risk driving the Earth System onto a trajectory toward more hostile states from which we cannot easily return.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaul J. Crutzen and the Anthropocene: A New Epoch in Earth’s History
EditorsS. Benner, G. Lax, P. Crutzen, U. Pöschl, J. Lelieveld, H. Günter Brauch
ISBN (Electronic)9783030822026
ISBN (Print)9783030822019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Publication series

NamePaul J. Crutzen and the Anthropocene: A New Epoch in Earth’s History
ISSN (Print)2367-4024
ISSN (Electronic)2367-4032


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