The Anthropocene, the concept that the Earth has moved into a novel geological epoch characterized by human domination of the planetary system, is an increasingly prevalent framework for debate both in academia and as a wider cultural and policy zeitgeist. This article reviews the proliferation of literature surrounding this concept. It explores the origins and history of the concept, as well as the arguments surrounding its geological formalization and starting date ranging from the Pleistocene to the twentieth century. It examines perspectives and critiques of the concept from the Earth system sciences, ecological and geological sciences, and social sciences and humanities, exploring its role as a cultural zeitgeist and ideological provocation. I conclude by offering a personal perspective on the concept of the Anthropocene and its utility.


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