June 29, 2012

A tipping point? Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere

Humans are changing the world. For dramatic effect you can add one or more exclamation marks: Humans are changing the world! Or you can talk about "planetary-scale critical transitions", "global-scale state shift forced by present drivers", "forcings across critical thresholds", or "global-level forcings that emerge on the planetary scale and then percolate downwards to cause changes in local systems". But don't call it dramatism. Call it "theoretical framework". As Anthony D. Barnosky and coauthors do in Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere, published in Nature. There are signs that we are dangerously close to a tipping point in pomposity.

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