10 March 2016
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Mankind is a master of invention. For millennia, we’ve reshaped the land, dammed the waters, and conjured towering meccas of civilization. We’ve overcome the limits of Nature, reimagining the World as we’d like it to be.
In our success, some argue Man has become a force of Nature unto itself – one on par with asteroid strikes or tectonic shifts. That’s the question before an international and multidisciplinary team of scientists as they consider the dawn of a new geological epoch: the Human Age.
Declaring this new age will require a clear marker – or ‘golden spike’ – in the Earth’s strata, one denoting the point when Man forever changed our planet.
Indelible scars caused by fossil fuel extraction, for example, or the layer of radiation that lingers in the wake of the first atomic bomb.
In this program,climatologists, biologists, oceanographers and policy experts gather to explore evidence for the Human Age – and what the implications might be as we imagine the future of our planet.
Dawn of the Human Age is a Signature World Science Festival event and is proudly presented in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
Meet the Participants
National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer who has been called a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress and "Hero for the Planet" by Time magazine. Formerly chief scientist of NOAA, Earle is the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc., founder of Mission Blue and SEAlliance, and chair of the Advisory Councils of the Harte Research Institute and the Ocean in Google Earth.
Earle has led more than a hundred expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater, including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970; participating in ten saturation dives, most recently in July 2012; and setting a record for solo diving in 1,000-meter depth.
Her research concerns marine ecosystems with special reference to exploration, conservation, and the development and use of new technologies for access and effective operations in the deep sea and other remote environments. Sylvia Earle appears with thanks to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
is a three-time Peabody Award winner, four-time Emmy Award winner, and Dateline NBC correspondent. Hockenberry has broad experience as a journalist and commentator for more than two decades, and is the anchor of the public radio show The Takeaway on WNYC and PRI.
He has reported from all over the world, in virtually every medium, having anchored programs for network, cable, and radio. Hockenberry is a noted presenter and moderator at conferences such as TED, Aspen Ideas, and the World Science Festival.
is a Distinguished Professor of Biology and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity & Development) at Macquarie University. Her research has mainly focused on the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. She is a former Lead Author in the IPCCs 4th and 5th Assessment Report, a former federal Climate Commissioner and now a Councillor with the Climate Council of Australia.
Hughes is also a Director for WWF Australia, a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, the Director of the Biodiversity Node for the NSW Adaptation Hub and a member of the expert advisory committee for Future Earth Australia.
is a councillor on the publicly-funded Climate Council of Australia that delivers independent expert information about climate change, and is an emeritus professor at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Canberra, working with the Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) program, and is a member of the ACT Climate Change Council.
Previously, Steffen served as executive director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, based in Stockholm, Sweden, and is currently a senior fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. His research interests span a broad range within the fields of climate and Earth System science, with an emphasis on incorporation of human processes in Earth System modelling and analysis; and on sustainability and climate change, particular in the context of urban areas.
is an environmental policy analyst, co-founder and Senior Fellow of the Breakthrough Institute, and co-author of "An Ecomodernist Manifesto." In 2008, he won the Green Book Award and was named Time magazine’s “Hero of the Environment”.
For over a decade Shellenberger has been a leader in shifting the climate policy paradigm from expensive fossil fossils to making clean energy cheap. He has co-authored analyses of cap and trade climate legislation, the "planetary boundaries" hypothesis, energy rebound from energy efficiency measures, carbon pricing, renewable energy subsidies, nuclear energy, and shale gas. Shellenberger's Breakthrough Institute is a think tank that promotes the use of new technologies to help us adapt to global environmental change.
Shellenberger’s 2007 book "Break Through," co-authored with Ted Nordhaus, was called “prescient” by Time and “the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Rachel Carson’s "Silent Spring” by Wired.