From Mary Shelley’s sole survivor to David Farrier’s survey of the traces we leave behind … author Cal Flyn on the most potent predictions
We humans have a profound impact on the world around us. Bob Paine, the groundbreaking American ecologist, once described us as a “hyperkeystone” species: our actions affect the lives and habitats of other creatures more than any other species on Earth. So much so, some scientists have adopted the term Anthropocene to refer to the current era, defined by atomic testing, the climate crisis and the development of plastics. Evidence of human activity will survive long after we are gone, both within the fossil record and in the state of the planet more generally, which we will have influenced in long-reaching and unpredictable ways.