• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .
Published: March 25, 2012
Anthropocene.info, the world's first educational website dedicated to the Anthropocene, to go live this Sunday, March 25, 2012.

“Welcome to the Anthropocene” film released

Film preview details
The film is available for preview at: http://vimeo.com/

Password: anthropocene2012;

Stills can be downloaded at: http://www.igbp.net/4.1081

Press release |
A visually spectacular animated film, Welcome to the Anthropocene, has been released on the eve of the major international science conference Planet Under Pressure.
Welcome to the Anthropocene is a 3-minute rollercoaster ride through the latest chapter in the story of how one species has transformed a planet.

“The Anthropocene changes our relationship with the planet. We have a new responsibility and we need to determine how to meet that responsibility.” Conference Chief Scientific Advisor, Nobel Laureate Professor Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University.

Welcome to the Anthropocene, commissioned by the London Planet Under Pressure conference*, provides a data visualization of the state of the planet. It opens at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. As the camera swoops over Earth, viewers watch the planetary impact of humanity: cities, roads, railways, pipelines, cables and shipping lanes until finally the world’s planes spin a fine web around the planet. The film is produced as part of the world’s first educational portal on the Anthropocene.

“Two months before the Rio+20 Summit, the film is a clear message that our current trajectory must change. And change needs to start today,” says Planet Under Pressure conference co-chair Dr Mark Stafford Smith, Science Director of the Climate Adaptation Flagship, CSIRO, Australia.

Conference Chief Scientific Advisor, Nobel Laureate Professor Elinor Ostrom from Indiana University said: “The Anthropocene changes our relationship with the planet. We have a new responsibility for the planet and we need to determine how to meet that responsibility. At their core Planet Under Pressure and Rio+20 are a recognition of this.”

The film was co-directed** by Canadian data visualization expert and anthropologist Felix Pharand-Deschenes from the education organization GLOBAIA.

Pharand-Deschenes said: “Data visualization is a powerful tool to help us view the world and our place in it and to help foster the global awareness needed to support global sustainability and governance. Science can make use of these tools to help bring research to more people.”

Dr Stafford Smith said: “The film picks up the main theme of the Planet Under Pressure conference: the risks we face are global, urgent and interconnected. Our search for solutions must take this into account.”

The conference, which opens on Monday 26 March in London, will present new scientific findings on urbanization, food, energy water, climate, biodiversity, poverty alleviation providing the equality in opportunities for improving well-being, ice sheet stability and ocean acidification.

Also on the eve of the conference (Sunday 25), UK chief scientific advisor to Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Blue Planet Laureate, Professor Sir Bob Watson will speak to arriving delegates. His talk will be based on the recent report from Blue Planet Laureates. He is expected to highlight the urgent need for action. The laureates report notes: “We must act now to limit climate change and loss of biodiversity, and adapt to the inevitable changes that are already pre-ordained. To transition to a more sustainable future will require simultaneously redesigning the economic system, a technological revolution, and, above all, behavioural change.”

“Delay is dangerous and would be a profound mistake. The ratchet effect and technological lock-in increase the risks of dangerous climate change: delay could make stabilization of CO2 concentrations at acceptable levels very difficult,” the report says.

The Planet Under Pressure conference has developed a major outreach campaign with 150 science and technology centres worldwide through the Association of Sci-ence and Technology Centers (ASTC). This will allow scientists to engage with the pub-lic on global challenges humanity is facing.

The new website, Anthropocene.info, will be launched to coincide with the conference and support outreach activities to science and technology centres.

Produced by an international consortium of research centres and programmes**, the Anthropocene website uses data visualizations, Google Earth, and dramatic imagery to take viewers on a journey through the Anthropocene, the proposed geological ep-och in recognition that human impact is visible in the planet’s geology.

The Anthropocene as a new geological epoch was first proposed in 2000 by Dutch Nobel Laureate Professor Paul Crutzen and US academic Professor Eugene Stoermer (1934-2012).

** Co-director Owen Gaffney, director of communications at the International Geo-sphere-Biosphere Programme
***International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, CSIRO, Stockholm Resilience Cen-tre, Stockholm Environment Institute, International Human Dimensions Programme and GLOBAIA.

Note to Editors

The research discussed in the press release, the conclusions drawn and the opinions offered are those of individual speakers or research teams at the Planet Under Pressure conference.

Anthropocene.info is an educational and outreach data visualization initiative for the Planet Under Pressure conference. The beta version of the first phase of the website has been launched at the conference to generate discussion. More data, ideas and information will be gathered at the conference and added to the website for the second and third phases. The website will build into a comprehensive resource to improve the collective understanding of the Earth system and the pressures it is under. In the long term, the strategy is to build a website that focuses on solutions to global sustainability and incorporate all aspects of living in the Anthropocene, from human well-being to planetary stewardship.

anthropocene.info is brought to you by:
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)
International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP)
International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP)
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm Environment Institute

More information about Planet under Pressure Conference
The international science conference will be the biggest gathering of global environmental change specialists in advance of the United Nations Rio+20 Summit: 2,500 scientists, policymakers, industry and media representatives will meet to hear the latest research findings on the state of the planet and discuss concepts for planetary stewardship and societal and economic transformation towards global sustainability.

More information on the web:

Follow the conference via RSS:

Live web streaming, daily news show and live audio feeds:

*Planet under Pressure Conference Organizers

International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme
IGBP provides essential international scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society onto a sustainable pathway during rapid global change.

By linking biology, ecology and social sciences, DIVERSITAS produces socially relevant new knowledge to support sustainable use of biodiversity. www.diversitas-international.org

International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change
IHDP provides international leadership in framing, developing and integrating social science research on global environmental change, and promotes key findings of this research to help address these challenges. www.ihdp.unu.edu

World Climate Research Programme
WCRP improves climate predictions and our understanding of human influence on climate through observations and modeling of the Earth system and the policy-relevant assessment of climate conditions. www.wcrp-climate.org

Earth System Science Partnership
ESSP is a partnership of the four international global change programmes. It is an integrated study of the Earth System, the ways that it is changing, and the implications for global and regional sustainability. www.essp.org

Scientific sponsor of the conference:
International Council for Science.
ICSU is a non-governmental body with a global membership of national scientific bodies (120 Members, representing 140 countries) and International Scientific Unions (31 Members). Its mission is to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. www.icsu.org

Share this page
Tell a friend (opens in new window)
Follow us

Please note!

IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

No events available

  • Global Change Magazine No. 84

    This final issue of the magazine takes stock of IGBP’s scientific and institutional accomplishments as well as its contributions to policy and capacity building. It features interviews of several past...

  • Global Change Magazine No. 83

    This issue features a special section on carbon. You can read about peak greenhouse-gas emissions in China, the mitigation of black carbon emissions and the effect of the 2010-2011 La Niña event on gl...