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Earth at Night, NASA

Symposium on Physical Geography:
Challenges of the “Anthropocene”

Gundremmingen Nuclear Power Plant by Felix König, Wikimedia Commons

In 2016, the International Commission on Stratigraphy will consider a proposal from the “Anthropocene” Working Group to formalize the “Anthropocene” as a geological unit within the Geological Time Scale. This designation recognizes a new time interval in which human activities have significantly altered Earth’s conditions and processes. Regardless of whether the Commission will ultimately declare a new geologic time frame, the changes that have occurred (and are continuing) in our climate, land surfaces, vegetation, and waters have profound effects on and implications for human society. Understanding human-induced alterations in the past and present is critical to our ability to anticipate, mitigate, and adapt to changes in the future.

Sea washed plastic debris by Andy Waddington, Wikimedia CommonsThe AAG 2016 Symposium on Physical Geography will explore recent advances relevant to our understanding of the concept of the “Anthropocene” and the problems it poses as humanity interacts with the Earth system. We seek contributions relating to past and contemporary environmental processes and change. Of particular interest are posters in the following areas:
(1) The Early “Anthropocene”: When Did the “Anthropocene” Really Start?
(2) Evidence of Large-scale Human Impacts and Quantifying Recent, Current and Future Anthropogenic Impacts
(3) Couplings and Societal Responses to Human-induced Environmental Change
(4) Measuring Risk and Planning Sustainability in an “Anthropocene” 21st Century

AAG Vice President Glen MacDonald will kick off the Symposium with an opening address, followed by Symposium Plenary Speaker William Ruddiman and other featured keynote speakers and discussants -including Dorothy Merritts, Erle Ellis, Diana Liverman, Susanne Moser, and Stephanie Pincetl - throughout the Symposium. Panel discussions will also explore how geographers are integrating the “Anthropocene” into their work, and how we can better facilitate and foster research and teaching related to this expanding “Anthropocene” concept.

Glen MacDonald, William Ruddiman, Dorothy Merritts, Erle Ellis, Diana Liverman, and Susanne Moser

Symposium Schedule

Wednesday 30 March 2016

2516 Symposium on Physical Geography: Challenges of the "Anthropocene" I: Plenary Opening Session
Continental 6, Hilton, Ballroom Level
Chairs: Anne Chin, Tim Beach
3:20 – 3:30 Introduction
3:30 – 4:10 Opening Address: AAG VP Glen MacDonald
4:10 – 5:00 Plenary Keynote: William Ruddiman

2616 Symposium on Physical Geography: Challenges of the "Anthropocene" II: The Early "Anthropocene"
Continental 6, Hilton, Ballroom Level

Chairs: Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, Charles Lafon
5:20 – 5:40 Invited research presentation: Suzanne Pilaar Birch
5:40 – 6:00 Invited research presentation: Tripti Bhattacharya
6:00 – 6:40 Keynote: Dorothy Merritts
6:40 – 7:00 Discussant: Allan James

2817 'Anthropocene' Film Screening

8:45  - 10:30 pm
Continental 7, Hilton, Ballroom Level
Join us for a screening of "The Anthropocene": A Working Party of international scientists is deciding whether to declare a new geological epoch - the Anthropocene - a planet shaped more by Mankind than Nature. Its members tell the story of the Anthropocene and argue whether it's a tragedy, a comedy, or something more surreal. With archive, award-winning stills and interviews – and a website seeking views globally, Anthropocene proposes a common secular narrative for Mankind but leaves viewers to decide how we should write the ending.

Thursday 31 March 2016

3116 Symposium on Physical Geography: Challenges of the "Anthropocene" III: Evidence and Quantification of Large-scale Human Impacts

Continental 6, Hilton, Ballroom Level
Chairs: Kate Johnson, Tim Beach
8:00 – 8:20 Invited research presentation: Paolo Tarolli
8:20 – 8:40 Invited research presentation: Carlos Ramos
8:40 – 9:20 Keynote: Erle Ellis
9:20 – 9:40 Discussant: Frank Magilligan

3216 Symposium on Physical Geography: Challenges of the "Anthropocene" IV: Couplings and Societal Responses to Human-Induced Environmental Change
Continental 6, Hilton, Ballroom Level
Chairs: Megan McCusker Hill, Bill Solecki
10:00 – 10:20 Invited research presentation: Simon Goring
10:20 – 10:40 Invited research presentation: Sonali McDermid
10:40 – 11:20 Keynote: Susanne Moser
11:20 – 11:40 Discussant: Diana Liverman

3416 Symposium on Physical Geography: Challenges of the "Anthropocene" V: Risk and Sustainability in an "Anthropocene" 21st Century
Continental 6, Hilton, Ballroom Level
Chairs: Bill Solecki, Anne Chin

1:20 – 1:40 Invited research presentation: Joan Florsheim
1:40 – 2:00 Invited research presentation: Scott Sheridan
2:00 – 2:40 Keynote: Stephanie Pincetl
2:40 – 3:00 Discussant: Billie Lee Turner

3561, 3661 Posters: Symposium on Physical Geography: Challenges of the “Anthropocene”
Grand Ballroom A/B, Hilton Hotel, Grand Ballroom Level
Organizers: Charles Lafon, Carol Harden, Anne Chin

Physical Geography Reception
3:20 – 7:00

Friday 1 April 2016

4161, 4261 Posters: General Physical Geography
Grand Ballroom A/B, Hilton Hotel, Grand Ballroom Level
Organizers: AAG, Charles Lafon, Carol Harden, Anne Chin
8:00 – 11:40

4316 Symposium on Physical Geography: Challenges of the "Anthropocene" VI: Plenary Synthesis Session on Researching and Teaching the "Anthropocene"
Continental 6, Hilton Hotel, Ballroom Level
Chairs: Carol Harden, Glen MacDonald, Julie Winkler

11:50 – 12:00 Introduction
12:00 – 12:25 Keynote: Ken Young
12:25 – 1:10 Discussants: Jon Harbor, Sally Horn, Robin Leichenko, Catherine Souch
Closing Remarks: Julie Winkler


To submit an abstract to this Symposium:

  • register for the conference at http://www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting/register
  • during abstract submission: select “Poster” as the abstract type
  • select “Anthropocene” as the Primary Topic
  • in the space for “Special Request” add a note that the abstract submitted is intended for the Symposium on Physical Geography: Challenges of the “Anthropocene.”

The abstract deadline for posters submitted to this symposium is February 18, 2016

The following AAG specialty groups are sponsoring this Symposium: Biogeography, Climate, Coastal and Marine, Cryosphere, Cultural and Political Ecology, Geomorphology, Hazards, Historical Geography, Human Dimensions of Global Change, Mountain Geography, Paleoenvironmental Change, Polar Geography, Urban Geography, Water Resources

Organizing Committee: Anne Chin (Chair), Timothy Beach, AAG Former President Carol Harden, Charles Lafon, AAG Vice President Glen MacDonald, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, Katharine Johnson, Megan McCusker Hill, William Solecki, AAG Former President Julie Winkler. 

For Further Information: Anne Chin, ANNE.CHIN@ucdenver.edu

 

Download a flyer of the symposium to share with your colleagues!