Philip Hoare

What Have We Done?

Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made

By

Chatto & Windus 436pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Anthropocene is perceived as a new geological era, succeeding the Holocene, a discrete age in which human beings have affected the world. Some scientists suggest it dates from the beginning of agriculture and human management of the land; some from the inception of the Industrial Revolution, which began to pump exponentially greater quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. And some source it to the middle of the last century: the dawn of a new nuclear age and the start of the ‘Great Acceleration’, which has witnessed an exponential increase in the exploitation of resources and extinction of species. Indeed, in her recent book, The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert notes that the legacy of our own species’s brief reign on the planet will be a stratum the thickness of a cigarette paper.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,