Society & Culture

UGA to host Anthropocene Lecture Series

Athens, Ga. – The Anthropocene Lecture Series at the University of Georgia will begin with “Extinction in a Changing World” by professor of cell biology Mark A. Farmer on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. in the UGA Chapel. The lectures are free and open to the public.

First coined by ecologist Eugene Stoermer in the 1980s, the term “anthropocene” has come to stand for a geological time period in which the actions of humanity have had a significant impact on Earth’s ecosystems.

“For over four billion years the Earth has been changing, and in all of that time it is natural processes that have affected the amount of land covered by forest, desert, plains or tundra,” said Farmer, chair of the division of biological sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and organizer of the lecture series. “The anthropocene represents a fundamental change in Earth’s history, in that it is now humanity that has become a major driver of those natural processes that most affect life on our planet.”

In an effort to better understand this period of unprecedented change, a number of leading scholars at UGA will present eight public lectures on the latest scientific findings on everything from how we are altering the planet’s chemistry to what these changes will mean for billions of people around the world.

The lectures are designed as public discussions about science for non-scientists.

“The anthropocene lectures were conceived to bring together a diverse group of scholars to speak about how these changes will affect our economy, our health, our quality of life and the diversity of organisms with whom we share the planet,” Farmer said. “They will also touch on the ethical and moral challenges humanity faces in coming to terms with the realization that to a very large extent the future of our planet rests within our hands.”

Beginning with the Aug. 28 lecture by Farmer, the series continues as follows, with all events at 7 p.m. in the UGA Chapel:

• Sept. 11: Past Futures: An Archaeology of the Anthropocene
Victor Thompson, department of anthropology

• Sept. 25: Urbanization and Climate Change
J. Marshall Shepherd, department of geography

• Oct. 9: Economics and the Transition Away from Fossil Fuels
Daniel M. Everett, computer science department

• Oct. 23: Pestilence in the 21st Century: Are diseases moving out of control?
Sonia Altizer, Odum School of Ecology

• Nov. 6: War and Global Environmental Change
James W. Porter, Odum School of Ecology

• Nov. 20: Who is the ‘Anthro’ in Anthropocene?
Chris J. Cuomo, philosophy and women’s studies departments

• Dec. 4: Repairing the World: The Theological and Moral Perspective
William “Bill” Coates Jr., First Baptist Church, Gainesville

For more information on the Anthropocene Lecture Series, see