The Trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration

Human system

The authors update the ‘Great Acceleration’ graphs of socio-economic and Earth System trends from 1750 to 2010, differentiating between wealthy, emerging, and other countries. Earth system indicators continue their long-term rise, with notable acceleration in the mid-20th century driven by human activities. The year 1950 therefore represents the most convincing start date for the Great Acceleration and the Anthropocene from an Earth System science perspective.


Will Steffen, Wendy Broadgate, Lisa Deutsch, Owen Gaffney, and Cornelia Ludwig

Publication Date

16 January 2015


The Anthropocene Review (vol. 2, iss. 1)


Human system

Resource Type

Academic Journal Article

Systems Addressed

Earth System

Resource Theme

Theory Building
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