Date(s) - 11/27/18
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Seminary Co-Op Bookstore
Seminary Coop Bookstore
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 – 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Marcia Bjornerud discusses Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World. She will be joined in conversation by Monica Rico. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.
Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Program on the Global Environment
Presented in partnership with the Chicago Council on Science & Technology
At the Co-op
RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required)
About the book: Few of us have any conception of the enormous timescales in our planet’s long history, and this narrow perspective underlies many of the environmental problems we are creating for ourselves. The passage of nine days, which is how long a drop of water typically stays in Earth’s atmosphere, is something we can easily grasp. But spans of hundreds of years—the time a molecule of carbon dioxide resides in the atmosphere—approach the limits of our comprehension. Our everyday lives are shaped by processes that vastly predate us, and our habits will in turn have consequences that will outlast us by generations. Timefulness reveals how knowing the rhythms of Earth’s deep past and conceiving of time as a geologist does can give us the perspective we need for a more sustainable future.
Marcia Bjornerud shows how geologists chart the planet’s past, explaining how we can determine the pace of solid Earth processes such as mountain building and erosion and comparing them with the more unstable rhythms of the oceans and atmosphere. These overlapping rates of change in the Earth system—some fast, some slow—demand a poly-temporal worldview, one that Bjornerud calls “timefulness.” She explains why timefulness is vital in the Anthropocene, this human epoch of accelerating planetary change, and proposes sensible solutions for building a more time-literate society.
This compelling book presents a new way of thinking about our place in time, enabling us to make decisions on multigenerational timescales. The lifespan of Earth may seem unfathomable compared to the brevity of human existence, but this view of time denies our deep roots in Earth’s history—and the magnitude of our effects on the planet.
About the author: Marcia Bjornerud is professor of geology and environmental studies at Lawrence University. She is the author of Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth and is a contributing writer for Elements, the New Yorker’s science and technology blog.
About the interlocutor: Monica Rico is Associate Professor of History at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she has taught since 2001 and received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Research in 2014. Her research interests include early American history, environmental history, gender history, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She published her book Nature’s Noblemen: Transatlantic Masculinities and the Nineteenth-century American West in 2013 with Yale University Press. Her current research concerns the relationship between art, science, and gender in the early United States. She was recently selected to participate in the Bright Institute at Knox College, a three year American history research program. Rico served as President of the Board of Directors of the Outagamie Country Historical Society for seven years, is active in numerous community organizations, and was named one of the Fox Cities’ “Future Fifteen” emerging leaders in 2014.