Living in the Homogocene

Just while we are on podcasts, this Seminar About Long Term Thinking by Charles C Mann has the highest signal to noise ratio of anything I have encountered in quite a while. He draws fascinating connections and flow on effects from the interactions and flows of people and objects in an interconnected world over the past few centuries.

His argument is that we are seeing a gradual but dramatic homogenization of Earth on a biological and ecological level through human actions since Colombus which is having massive effects.

From the bacteria that came with the West to decimate the Americas leading to a┬áchange in how humans existed in relation to the environment on that continent leading to a measurable change in global carbon levels and the ‘mini ice age’ that followed, through to the risks of the rubber industry being wiped out in a span of months today, to the effects of potatoes going West on European political stability, and maize and sweet potato entering into China leading to new areas being farmed which led to soil run off raising rivers that caused a hundred years of devastating flooding, and the fact of African’s higher immunity to malaria prompting the economic motivation and reality of slavery, it is a really deeply interesting perspective on how the interconnections and transfers between elements of the world create massive unpredictable changes.

Bits of that may sound familiar, but trust me, he is finding deeply fascinating and novel patterns in the data. Big big recommendation.

3 Responses to “Living in the Homogocene”

  1.   Bruce
    November 7th, 2012 | 1:40 pm

    Stumbling around on the long now website, not apparently obvious how to access this except through the itunes store? I am loathe to install itunes… I expect I am missing something. What’s the easy free no muss no fuss quick and dirty way to get this content?

    billy Reply:

    Bruce: follow the link I gave in the post. Underneath the embedded video on the page is a horizontal black bar with links (About Summary Downloads Links). Click on Downloads, which will give options to download the talk.

  2.   Bruce
    November 9th, 2012 | 10:14 pm

    thanks and sorry, that was rather obvious!