Informed by comparative planetology and a survey of the major transitions in Earth history, Dr. Grinspoon will offer a taxonomy of planetary catastrophes meant to illuminate the unusual nature of the “Anthropocene”, the current epoch of human-driven planetary-scale changes, and reframe our current environmental and technological predicaments as part of a larger narrative of planetary evolution. This saga has now reached the pivotal moment when humans have become a dominant force of planetary change, and geological and human history are becoming irreversibly conjoined. Is this a likely or even inevitable challenge facing other complex life in the universe? Possible implications for exoplanet characterization and SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will be considered, as well as the choices our civilization faces in seeking to foster a wisely managed Earth.
The talk is sponsored by the Department of Geology and Environmental Science, and co-sponsored by the Year of Humanities, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the Honors College. For more information, click here, or contact Daniel Peluso at firstname.lastname@example.org.