Anthropocene is a term that was first used 20 years ago to describe the new epoch of geological time, starting after the industrial revolution of 1750 indicating the transition out of the Holecene and into a new age – the human age. This term and its implications has incited great debate amongst the scientific community over the year, as in order for a new new geologic epoch to be accepted, we would have had to have changed the planet to such an extent as to have effected the rock strata around us. In 2019, scientist in the International Commission on Stratigraphy, did indeed agree this to be the case, and officially accepted the new age of the Anthropocene. Professor Will Steffen reflects on the current state of the climate, and revels that due to the connectedness of all of Earth’s systems, a cascade effect of climate disasters can occur – called the Tipping Point. We are fast approaching this tipping point, and to avoid it society will have to change. The evidence suggest we are already in a state of planetary emergency, and acting now is how we can escape Earth’s Tipping Point.
People often say that we are not born racist, however the truth is actually more complicated: new-born infants exhibit no preference for faces of various ethnic groups, however from the age of 3 months, infants begin to take longer to scan faces – indicating that they are thinking more about appearances – and exhibit a preference for faces of their parents’ (and own) ethnic group(s). These findings imply that while we may not be born racist, our perceptions of ethnic differences are learned during early development as a result of exposure to own- versus other-race faces. In this reflective piece, Catriona Nguyen-Robertson considers the neuroscience of racism as presented to the Society by Dr Larry Sherman, drawing parallels to her own experience as an Australian with a mixed heritage of Vietnamese and Scottish parentage.