The Sixth Extinction

A term for the modern era of the Earth, beginning with the emergence of Homo sapiens (human beings) about 60,000 years ago. The term “Anthropocene,” which literally means “age of man,” suggests that the defining event in the Earth’s recent history is the wide-scale alteration of the environment by human beings.

Anthropocene Quotes in The Sixth Extinction

The The Sixth Extinction quotes below are all either spoken by Anthropocene or refer to Anthropocene. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of The Sixth Extinction published in 2015.
Chapter 5 Quotes

"Because of these anthropogenic emissions" Crutzen wrote, the global climate is likely to "depart significantly from natural behavior for many millennia to come."

Crutzen published "Geology of Mankind" in 2002. Soon, the 'Anthropocene" began migrating out into other scientific journals.

Related Characters: Paul Crutzen
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 7 Quotes

Thousands—perhaps millions—of species have evolved to rely on coral reefs, either directly for protection or food, or indirectly, to prey on those species that come seeking protection or food. This coevolutionary venture has been under way for many geologic epochs. Researchers now believe it won't last out the Anthropocene.

Related Symbols: Great Barrier Reef
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:
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Anthropocene Term Timeline in The Sixth Extinction

The timeline below shows where the term Anthropocene appears in The Sixth Extinction. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: Welcome to the Anthropocene
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Natural Selection and Mass-extinction Theme Icon
Science and Paradigm Shifts Theme Icon
...a new era of mass-extinction. The most popular term for the “age of humans” is Anthropocene. Paul Crutzen, the scientist who coined the term in 2000, argued that humans have fundamentally... (full context)
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Natural Selection and Mass-extinction Theme Icon
Science and Paradigm Shifts Theme Icon
Zalasiewicz is one of the most vocal notable supporter’s of Crutzen’s Anthropocene argument. Shortly before Kolbert visited him in Scotland, he lobbied the ICS (International Commission on... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Sea Around Us
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Natural Selection and Mass-extinction Theme Icon
Environmental Change and Human Nature Theme Icon
...“running geologic history … at warp speed.” If humans continue at their current rates, the Anthropocene epoch will be one of the most “cataclysmic” events in planetary history. (full context)
Chapter 9: Islands on Dry Land
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Environmental Change and Human Nature Theme Icon
Science and Paradigm Shifts Theme Icon
...million. Indeed, the development of ice-less land is one of the defining characteristics of the Anthropocene era. However, it can be difficult to decide what does and doesn’t count as development—for... (full context)
Chapter 10: The New Pangaea
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Environmental Change and Human Nature Theme Icon
Science and Paradigm Shifts Theme Icon
...that many animals are capable of traveling long distances over natural barriers. And in the Anthropocene, animals are dispersed around the world, thanks to the actions of human beings. Humans travel... (full context)
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Natural Selection and Mass-extinction Theme Icon
Environmental Change and Human Nature Theme Icon
Science and Paradigm Shifts Theme Icon
In the Anthropocene, species move around the world in a process similar to Russian roulette. When a species... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Rhino Gets an Ultrasound
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Natural Selection and Mass-extinction Theme Icon
Environmental Change and Human Nature Theme Icon
...have done in” the large mammals with “only modest effort.” Alroy’s findings suggest that the Anthropocene really began many thousands of years ago, long before the Industrial Revolution. (full context)
Chapter 13: The Thing with Feathers
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Natural Selection and Mass-extinction Theme Icon
Environmental Change and Human Nature Theme Icon
Throughout her book, Kolbert has been talking about the Anthropocene era, or, put another way, the Sixth Extinction: the mass-extinction of the world’s life forms,... (full context)