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[Perspectives] Sea change

For millions of years, human beings have been passengers on the good ship Earth alongside all other species. However, midway through the last century, humans shouldered up to the cockpit and took control, and as they did so, Earth transitioned into what many scientists have termed a new geological epoch—the Anthropocene. We are now the dominant force determining many of the biophysical conditions on Earth—the dynamics of our climate system, where forests, grasslands, and wetlands are present and where they are absent, the flow in our rivers, the status of our fisheries, the global cycling of nitrogen, phosphorous, and carbon, and even which species still exist.