Thursday, January 18, 2018 from 6:30 PM to 8:45 PM EST
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Fairlington Community Center, Room 118 
3308 S. Stafford St.
Arlington, VA 22206

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Joslin Gallatin 
Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment 

Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans 

ACE is pleased to sponsor a talk by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Curator and Research Botanist W. John Kress, co-editor of “Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans” (Smithsonian Books, 2017). In her foreword, Elizabeth Kolbert states: “We live in a world dominated by humans,” citing rapidly changing climate, reduced freshwater aquifers, disappearing forests, and record creature extinction rates.  “Living in the Anthropocene” presents 32 original essays to advance understanding of the complex causes and consequences of human-induced environmental change.

Please join us for this exciting, free event. The event will include refreshments and mingling from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. and a presentation by John Kress at 7:00 p.m. followed by a discussion and book signing.

Attendees are welcome to pre-order a copy of the book when registering for this event. The suggested donation for each book is $30. (Note that $9 of this donation is tax deductible.)

A big thank you to our event co-sponsors: American ForestsArlington Regional Master NaturalistsAudubon Society of Northern VirginiaFriends of Dyke MarshMaster Gardeners of Northern VirginiaMt. Vernon Group of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra ClubTreeStewards, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.

Weather Cancellations - If Arlington Public Schools are closed on January 18 or evening programs are canceled, this program will be canceled.  Please check online for APS cancellation announcements. 

Background About "Living in the Anthropocene"

John Kress co-edited the 1,200-word essays that blend “perspectives and expertise of environmental scientists, historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, economists, art historians, and documentarians.”  He will introduce each of the five chapters: what the Anthropocene means; drivers of environmental change; adaptations of humans and nature to that change; depiction of the change by visual artists; and perspectives on the path forward.   

The book springs from a competition launched by the Smithsonian in 2010, a ‘Grand Challenge on Biodiversity’ bringing together scholars across many fields to assess human impacts on the environment.  “Anthropocene” was coined by Dutchman Paul Crutzen, 1995 Nobel Prize winner, who chose it “to serve as an alarm” about the impact of humans on nature.  When the Anthropocene started is a topic of vigorous debate.  Scientists at the International Geophysical Association seek to pinpoint a date -- a clear marker, such as the massive meteor that ended a world dominated by dinosaurs.  Markers discussed include the production of plastic, or attaining a certain level of carbon footprint.  Some question the arrogance of a term referring only to one species, Kress notes, adding:  “We toyed with using ‘Earth in the Age of Humans’ as the title but decided Crutzen’s term aptly underscores the central role of humans in the change we see.”  In the afterword, E.O. Wilson calls for “taking global conservation to a new level.”  This book helps explain why that challenge impacts us all.

For his next project, Kress is working on a Smithsonian Guide to the Common Trees of North America.  He also hopes to set up another Smithsonian “Forest Dynamics Plot” like the one in Panama where 300,000 trees, on a 50-hectare plot, are tagged, measured, and mapped; this time, he’d like to see a Plot set up in downtown Washington, DC.