Oswald Schmitz is Professor of Population and Community Ecology at Yale University.
His new book is The New Ecology: Rethinking a Science for the Anthropocene.
From Schmitz's Q&A with Jessica Ganga at the Princeton University Press blog:
The term Anthropocene is cropping up a lot nowadays in discussions about the environment. What does this term refer to?--Marshal Zeringue
OS: The Anthropocene essentially means the Age of Humans. Science has characterized the history of the Earth in terms of major events that have either shaped its geological formations or have given rise to certain dominant life forms that have shaped the world. For example, the Mesozoic is known as the Age of the Dinosaurs, the Cenozoic includes the Age of Flowering Plants, Age of Insects, Age of Mammals and Birds. The Anthropocene characterizes our modern times because humans have become the dominant life form shaping the world.
You’ve written several books about ecology. What’s different about this one?
OS: My goal is to communicate the exciting scientific developments and insights of ecology to a broad readership. I hope to inspire readers to think more deeply about humankind’s role as part of nature, not separate from it, and consider the bigger picture implications of humankind’s values and choices for the sustainability of Earth. As such, the intended audience is altogether different than my previous books. My previous books were technical science books written specifically for ecologists or aspiring ecologists.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
OS: The ecological scientific community has done...[read on]