Life on a Human Dominated Earth: The Challenges Ahead

FEBRUARY 21, 2003

Dr. G. David Tilman

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
University of Minnesota

What is the talk about?

Sometime in the last century, the world entered a new era. It occurred with no fanfare. It happened gradually in terms of human perception, but was an amazingly rapid event if placed in the perspective of the 4000 years of recorded human history, or the millions of years of life on earth. The world entered an era of human domination of global ecosystems. This era poses some of the greatest challenges humanity has faced. These challenges span areas ranging from environmental management to agriculture, economics, law, philosophy and ethics. What does human domination of global ecosystems mean? For first time in history of the globe, there are so many people, doing so much, that humans have become the major movers and shapers of global ecosystems. Humans now exert a greater impact on many critically important global processes than all other natural forces combined. Should we be concerned? What kind of world are we creating? What will future generations experience? What can we do about it? These questions are the focus of Dr. Tilman’s talk.

About our presenter

Dr. G. David Tilman

Dr. G. David Tilman

Dr. G. David Tilman is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, at the University of Minnesota and the director of the Cedar Creek Natural History Area. His research interests include the ecological effects of human domination of the earth, population ecology and theory of community dynamics and biodiversity, the role of resource competition, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and the effects of habitat destruction.