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Deconstructing the Great Acceleration
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The Anthropocene is characterized by a strong human influence on the Earth System that is threatening the future prosperity of human societies. A mid-20th century onset of the Anthropocene is being proposed supported by the global phenomenon the Great Acceleration, but much concern has been raised that defining the Anthropocene based on global averages fails to recognize the massive inequalities in humanity’s contribution to current pressures on the Earth System. This study uses increase in growth rate as in indication of system change and conducts a statistical analysis to determine the largest change in the socio-economic domain of the Earth System on both a global and national level. The aim is to examine the empirical support for an unequal Anthropocene from a systems perspective. 814 of these events are identified across all the Great Acceleration indicators. The magnitude of the changes is typically large, with the growth rate increasing by more than 100% in 86% of the identified events. The findings suggest that while there is good evidence for a substantial change in the socio-economic domain of the Earth System the mid-20th century it is not the result of a globally synchronous event, but rather the culmination of a gradual process that display large temporal disparities with these system changes moving like waves across the Earth. The observed disparities show striking similarities to current developmental status suggesting that when deconstructed, the Great Acceleration can be used both to support global patterns and to illustrate inequalities between countries and people, making it a powerful tool to communicate the many facets of the Anthropocene.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Anthropocene, Great Acceleration, Earth System change, global equity
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-157370OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-157370DiVA, id: diva2:1219466
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Available from: 2018-06-21 Created: 2018-06-15 Last updated: 2018-06-21Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • de-DE
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  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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  • asciidoc
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