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Humans as a Geological Force

Archaeologist, Christina Fredengren explains how humans have become a major geological force in the Anthropocene.
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We are here at the garbage handling station. Around us, we see mountains and tons of plastic garbage. On the one hand, the human being is quite small. On the other hand, the human being has quite a large impact on the planet. For millions of years, the surface of the planet has mainly been moved by tectonic forces- -by rivers pulling sediments along the landscape and also by volcanoes.
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But recently, a new actor has come on stage: The human being. And through actions like mining and resource extraction, road building- -but also urbanization with high rise buildings the human being is actually moving more- -sediments than the planet itself. Also, new man-made products are flooding the planet. We have concrete, asphalt, and also - yes, you see it - plastic. So now is the time when man-made stuff outweighs all living on the planet. We think we live today, but our actions will last for a long future. When we deposit materials we make deep time interventions. And not enough with that!
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The human being is also a force that can change the climate- -and affect for example when the next ice age comes about- -as well as the melting of the ices in the Arctic. The human being is also the cause of what might be the sixth species extinction.

This video was filmed on location at Gärstad Recycling Centre in Linköping, Sweden. Surrounded by mountains of plastic garbage, Christina Fredengren explains how humans have become a major geological force, how manmade stuff now outweighs all living things on the planet, how the consequences of our actions extend far beyond our own lifetimes and how human action can cause a sixth mass extinction.

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