The concept of the athropocene has had a huge impact in academia, and has also spilled out into the wider public consciousness. It is a controversial idea - that we have entered a new geological period (or more precisely, what is probably a new epoch). This new period of time is characterised by a total human domination of the Earth system, with widespread impacts including deforestation, mass extinction, rapid changes in the cryosphere and oceans and of course climate changes.

In a study published last month for the The Geological Society, a team of geologists have formally presented the geological evidence in support of this new division of geological time.

The idea of the Anthropocene is critically important, and draws together lots of the research that is discussed on the Passle environment page - fundamental changes in climate, land use, biodiversity, sea level rise etc etc.

For an interesting debate on the Anthropocene (including when it started, what the evidence is, and whether it truly exists or is just a blip), see the BBC Frontiers radio programme "Anthropocene":

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nxw2l