Humans: The Planet-Altering Apes

Event Date (Pacific Time): 
Friday, May 13, 2022 - 12:00pm to 4:30pm
Event Chairs:

Ajit Varki, UC San Diego School of Medicine
Margaret Schoeninger, University of California, San Diego

CARTA is a broad-based coalition of scholars interested in defining and explaining the evolutionary origins of humans and in generating testable hypotheses and new agendas for research on this subject. CARTA public symposia emphasize our primary objectives –– to explore and explain where we humans came from, and how we got here. Given the focus on human origins, we generally limit discussions of current day implications and questions regarding the future of humanity.

However, we now feel the urgent moral and practical imperative to call attention to the long- and short-term impact of humans on the planet that we inhabit, and the consequences for the future of our species. Accordingly, on March 5, 2022, CARTA presented "Human Origins and Humanity's Future: Past, Present and Future of the Anthropocene,” co-chaired by Leslie Aiello (University College London) and Charles Kennel (Scripps Institution of Oceanography and University of Cambridge), which introduced discussion on the current age of human activity, coined the “Anthropocene.”

To elaborate upon and extend this discussion, this symposium will address specific examples of how humans have drastically altered the planet. Acknowledged experts will discuss clearly defined global-scale negative impacts on planet earth, our life support system (other than climate change, population growth and infectious diseases, which are well-known). Each talk will succinctly describe a specific impact, the role that our species has played, and conclude with ongoing or potential approaches to mitigation.

In the process, we are coming full circle to Anthropogeny, asking how a single species could have evolved the ability to so drastically alter the entire planet.

Funding for this symposium was provided by many generous CARTA donors, with additional support from CARTA Patrons Elizabeth Lancaster & Eli Shefter (in honor of The Bees); CARTA Friends Feroza Ardeshir & Suresh Subramani (in honor of Dr. Nissi M. Varki), Kathlyn Furr, and Pamela N. & Michael Swartout; as well as CARTA Supporters Kalvin Drake, Guy Miller, Christoph Roehrig, and John Sterling. Closed captioning for the recordings was made possible by CARTA Patrons Ingrid Benirschke-Perkins & Gordon Perkins.

Event Sessions

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Event Glossary

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