According to Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen, the planet is on the cusp of entering a new geological age: the Anthropocene. Produced by the VPRO Backlight documentary series, The Age of Mankind verifies the evidence in support of Crutzen's pronouncement, and examines the long-term consequences of man's continued exploitation of the environment.
The film presents a firm challenge to those who deny the existence of man-made climate change. 2016 was the hottest year ever in recorded history. The deforestation and rampant infrastructure that have occurred in sensitive ecological regions have caused a grave imbalance. Noxious gasses obscure the skies, and destroy the clean air that sustains us. Plastic bottles, toxic chemicals and other waste materials are now destroying crucial life under our polluted seas. Yet, our modern politicians continue to doubt the relevancy of scientific consensus, and the stark evidence of climate change that lies in plain sight.
The filmmakers take great pains to confirm the connections between human activities and global warming. They cite the work of a 19th century German explorer and naturalist named Alexander von Humboldt, whose groundbreaking efforts brought forth the earliest confirmation of climate change. Two centuries later, a significant number of power players in the United States government refuse to concede this relationship.
The film travels to various regions to illustrate the escalating influence of our footprint on the natural world. In Greenland, the once reliable glaciers are in a continual meltdown. Once they dwindle from existence completely, sea levels will rise and flood many of our most vulnerable coastal cities.
It's not all doom and gloom. The film also introduces us to the innovators who are committed to fostering more sustainable solutions. We also learn about the activists who recently took the historical step of suing the Dutch government for failing to reduce CO2 emissions.
The producers of The Age of Mankind have provided extensive coverage of climate change concerns over the years. During the course of this insightful new installment, a panel of renowned experts in the fields of geology, history, philosophy and sustainability review past episodes and offer their prognosis on the survival of our planet.