The Great Acceleration

by J.R. McNeill and Peter Engelecke,  Harvard University Press 2014

If you seek a single source to begin a query into environmental issues confronting humanity, this short 2014 book by J.R. McNeil and Peter Engelke is a good starting place. A pungent survey of the emerging Anthropocene epoch, a recent time when humans have become the dominant force on global ecology, this book probes causes and effects of “the great acceleration,” when human environmental impact has become what the authors call “a large uncontrolled experiment.” This is an era after World War II when energy use expanded rapidly. The authors explore the impact of this rampant energy use and rising population, resulting urbanization, deforestation and agricultural expansion, climate change, and widespread ecological disruption.  With comprehensive notes and bibliography, this book opens a door to fertile opportunities for visually documenting our intensifying environmental dilemma.

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