October 22nd, 2012
Episode 208 of 559 episodes
Humanity’s impact on the Earth is so profound that we’re creating a new geological time period. Geologists have named the age we’re making the Anthropocene. The changes we’re making to the atmosphere, oceans, landscape and living things will leap out of the rocks forming today to Earth scientists of the far future, as clearly as the giant meteorite that ended the Age of the Dinosaurs does to today’s researchers. In this four part series, journalist Gaia Vince looks at the impact of these planetary transformations from the perspective of geological time. When was the last time comparable events happened in Earth history, and are what are the key marks we’re making on the planet that define the Anthropocene? In this first programme, Gaia hears how the hand of humanity on the surface of the continent is geological in its sheer scale and its imprint will remain for millions of years. Through mining and quarrying, we shift billions more tonnes rock and sediment annually than all of the planet’s great rivers and glaciers combined. We are creating new strata in patterns Mother Earth never intended. By turning 40% of the land from wild habitat to food production and then discovering how to turn the atmosphere’s nitrogen into synthetic fertiliser, we’ve become the biggest thing to happen to the whole planet’s nitrogen cycle in 2 billion years. That’s not only causing immediate and serious environmental problems such as oxygen-depleted dead zones in coastal areas and the acceleration of climate change, our rock-shifting and nitrogenous activities will be preserved in the rocks of the future geological record for posterity. Our sedimentary and geochemical signals are exactly the kind geologists use to mark where one period of Earth history ends and another begins. Presented by Gaia Vince Produced by Andrew Luck-Baker (Image: Anthropocene data visualisation. Credit: International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Globaia)
Have you trembled ‘round the campfire as the ghost stories are told? Do tales of horrors wrought by nature and beyond strike fear in your soul? Is it best when you are afraid to turn out the light? Thrill to stories that strike at your deepest fears, as host Stephen Kilpatrick brings the best of horror fiction to your ears and your mind, read to you by the most chilling narrators that podcasting has to offer. <br /> <br /> Podcasting the finest in genre fiction, Tales to Terrify is where the depths of horror reveal the truths of good, evil, and the human spirit in the District of Wonders podcast network. Like all shows in the District of Wonders, Tales to Terrify is supported by a welcoming community of dedicated fans and contributors. Subscribe today, and begin your journey through the spine-tingling depths of storytelling.<br /> <br /> Everyone has a story in the District of Wonders. Come and find yours.