‘Every living thing affects its surroundings. But humanity is now influencing every aspect of the Earth on a scale akin to the great forces of nature.’ (Anthropocene 2014, para. 1). Since the 1950s, the planet has experienced a significant shift in the in the scale and speed of change which has lead this era to be identified as the ‘Great Acceleration’. During this time the population tripled and the global economy, driven by new technology, exploded. This growth disrupted ecology by creating an increased demand for natural resources, causing pollution levels to rise. The acceleration is an ongoing problem and has caused global disruptions to the earth ecosystem, such as climate change, causing it to become more unpredictable and threaten its ability to support a global community (Anthropocene 2014).
Anthropocene is a neologism that refers to the world we are living in where geologically significant conditions and processes are profoundly altered by human activities (Globaia 2014). The concern of living in this era has resulted in several organisations taking different approaches to address the current issues. The non-profit organisation, Globaia, aims to raise awareness concerning this among society. They are an organisation that is committed to transforming perceptions in order to overcome the obstacles we have created and ultimately have a desire to bring a sense of peace in the relationships that connect humans to each other and our planet. Globaia (2014) uses visual communication as a tool to raise awareness about the issues in a really provocative and engaging way.
Other organisations are approaching the problem through research. The international research initiative, Future Earth (2014), is in the process of developing the knowledge for responding effectively to global environment change and is supporting the transition towards global sustainability in the future. To achieve global sustainability Future Earth believes in the importance of researching the Earth’s ecological system and its behaviours and encourages collaboration between disciplines in order to develop processes to address the issues. Working in an interdisciplinary environment will help deliver the knowledge that will support decisions and actions towards sustainability (Future Earth 2014).
The Venus Project (2014) is a corporation, designed by futurist Jacque Fresco, and proposes how society in the future will become more sustainable and overcome global issues. He looks at redesigning our culture so that war, poverty, hunger, debt and human suffering can be completely prevented. He also believes that using a ‘resource-based economy’, where goods, services and information are free, is better because there is no money in society and resources are distributed among people instead (Fresco 2012). The Venus Project (2014) has even developed a visual representation of how they believe the future would look and have designed everything from futuristic urban city systems to housing, transportation and energy.
Jacque Fresco has received criticism for the way he proposes to overcome the global issues and many people believe that his ideals will not work in practice, but what is interesting about the project is that it is thought provoking and encourages discussion and debate about whether the future solution is plausible (Ulrich 2011). Whether The Venus Project (2014) is an ideal solution for the future or not is irrelevant, the importance of the project is that people are responding and reacting to his proposals which is facilitating discussion about how we will begin to envision a better future that tackles the pressing environmental concerns we are currently facing. If there is going to be any kind of shift in our society that will lead us to a better, more sustainable future, then people need to collaborate and come up with creative solutions collectively.
Anthropocene, 2014, The Great Acceleration, viewed on 18 August 2014, http://www.anthropocene.info/en/anthropocene.
Fresco, J. 2012, Resource Based Economy, video recording, TED, YouTube, viewed 18 August 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzirIG55fkE.
Future Earth, 2014, Who We Are, viewed on 18 August 2014, http://www.futureearth.info.
Future Earth, 2014, Global Sustainable Development, viewed on 18 August 2014, http://www.futureearth.org/themes/global-sustainable-development>
Globaia, 2014, Cartography of the Anthropocene, viewed on 18 August 2014, http://globaia.org.
The Venus Project, 2014, The Venus Project, viewed on 18 August 2014, http://www.thevenusproject.com/about/the-venus-project.
Ulrich, E. 2011, A Summary and Criticism of the Documentary Film “Zeitgeist Addedum”, News of Interest.TV, viewed on 18 August 2014, http://www.newsofinterest.tv/politics/video_summaries/zeitgeist_addedum.php.