Such has been the transformation of the planet Earth by human activity over the last
200 years thatWood (2009), quoting scientist Paul Crutzen, has suggested that geologists
should henceforth refer to these two centuries as the “anthropocene” period.
In that time, according to Wood, humans have reshaped about half of the Earth’s
surface. While some of this reshaping has been unintended, for the most part it has
constituted deliberate engineering, that is, the application of science, technology
and know-how to achieve particular ends. The result has been the transformation
of the earth, identified by Kates (1987) as one of the key strands of the analysis
of human/environment relations, and one of the core concerns of geography as an
“Earth” being a concept with many meanings, here we use it to refer to the surface
of our planet, which provides the environment for human habitation, and that
thin layer of earth’s crust underneath the surface from which humans deriv...