Evolving the Anthropocene

Dr. Erle C. Ellis, University of Maryland

Monday, November 14, 2016

5:15 pm - 6:15 pm, AA-G008


Humans are transforming Earth’s atmosphere, climate, lithosphere and biosphere, heralding a new epoch of geologic time, the Anthropocene. To understand and address the challenges of the Anthropocene, it is necessary to understand why the societies of behaviorally modern humans, unlike those of any prior species, gained the capacity to alter the functioning of an entire planet. Anthroecology theory explains this unprecedented human transformation of Earth’s functioning through evolutionary processes of sociocultural niche construction. What are the prospects for humanity and nature on a planet ever more rapidly and completely reshaped by human societies? Planetary opportunities for a better Anthropocene may already be evolving.

About the speaker

Erle Ellis is Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where he directs the Laboratory for Anthropogenic Landscape Ecology (http://ecotope.org). His research investigates the ecology of human landscapes at local to global scales towards informing sustainable stewardship of the biosphere in the Anthropocene. Recent projects include the global mapping of human ecology and its changes (anthromes), online tools for global synthesis of local knowledge (GLOBE) and user-deployed tools for mapping landscapes in 3D (Ecosynth). He teaches environmental science and landscape ecology at UMBC, and has taught ecology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.


Davis Sloan Wilson, Director 

Susan Ryan, EvoS Coordinator


Last Updated: 2/7/17