Editor's Letter; September 2008; Scientific American Earth 3.0; by John Rennie; 1 Page(s)
The "Earth" part of the title of this special issue from Scientific American is no doubt self-explanatory, but why "3.0"?
Because this planet is no longer simply the home of our species: it is
also our creation. And as with any product, sometimes it is prudent to
upgrade its quality.
If you will indulge the analogy further, Earth 1.0 was the world that
persisted and evolved for billions of years, up until very recently. The
environment was dominated by closed ecological loops and a few geological
and astronomical processes, such as the movements of continents
and the brightness of the sun. As such, life was highly sustainable.
Even after we humans developed agriculture, which considerably
enlarged our footprint on the environment, our overall influence was
fairly small and localized.