Astrobiologist David Grinspoon describes the Anthropocene, Earth's new geological epoch this way: "We're at the controls of planet Earth, but we're not in control."
True enough. We, mankind, are in the driver's seat and we have the pedal to the metal only no one has taken the wheel.
Gazing over the countless transformations in Earth’s multibillion-year history, I am struck by the unique strangeness of the present moment. We suddenly find ourselves sort of running a planet — a role we never anticipated or sought — without knowing how it should be done. We’re at the controls, but we’re not in control.
Now we need to do so again.
If we make it through the next few centuries it will be because we’ve honed our survival skills and adapted them to work on a planetary scale. Once we achieve that, we’ll have done much more than ensure our own persistence against shortsighted self-induced challenges. We will have unleashed the power of reason and foresight in permanent defense of Earth’s biosphere.