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Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (2019)—CanadaAnthropocene: The Human Epoch (2019)—Canada

The 4.5 billion year history of the earth is divided by scientists into seven major "epochs," our current one being the Holocene that started about 12,000 years ago. Beginning in 2009, an interdisciplinary research team called the Anthropocene Working Group began to study and advocate for the now unofficial conclusion that the Holocene has ended, and that the earth has entered a new Anthropocene Epoch. That is, our human impact on the earth is now greater than all of nature's own changes combined. Not everyone agrees with this conclusion, or exactly when the Anthropocene began; some have suggested the Industrial Revolution, or the ominous year 1945 when humanity first tested the atomic bomb. This documentary film follows the AWG and makes its case by the power of visual images. From pyramids of tusks butchered from 10,000 (!) elephants in Kenya (think extinction events), to the world's largest smelter north of the Arctic Circle, the extraction of marble in Italy, monster machines in Germany destroying entire towns, mountains of plastic bags and bottles in Kenya, oil refineries in Houston, and logging in Nigeria — the cinematic impact is a combination of the surreal and the apocalyptic. Anthropocene was featured at the Sundance, Berlin, and Toronto film festivals. I watched it on Kanopy, which is a free streaming service for anyone with a public library card.

Dan Clendenin:

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