The Great Acceleration | Summary and Q&A

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December 6, 2019
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MinuteEarth
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The Great Acceleration

TL;DR

Earth's temperature, plastic production, extinctions, fertilizer use, fish consumption, population, and energy consumption have all skyrocketed due to the Great Acceleration, which is the rapid increase in human activities.

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Key Insights

  • 😒 The Great Acceleration is a result of factors such as fossil fuel use, technological advancements, and global accessibility to resources.
  • 🥺 The intensity and scale of human activities have increased exponentially since the 1800s, leading to significant global changes.
  • 🌸 The Great Acceleration has resulted in environmental challenges, including climate change, pollution, depletion of resources, and loss of biodiversity.
  • 🧑‍⚕️ It has also posed social challenges, such as population growth, social inequity, and health issues.
  • 🪐 The consequences of the Great Acceleration are uncertain, and the future of the planet and humanity is at stake.

Transcript

Hi, this is Alex, from MinuteEarth, and this is the so-called “hockey stick graph”. You've probably seen it before, because Earth's temperature has risen so fast over the last few decades that it looks kind of like a hockey stick. Except, a hockey stick is also a graph of the amount of plastic we make each year. And the number of extinctions we're ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the Great Acceleration?

The Great Acceleration is a term used to describe the rapid and significant increase in various human activities, such as population growth, energy consumption, and resource exploitation, which have all occurred since the 1800s.

Q: What factors have contributed to the Great Acceleration?

The Great Acceleration is primarily attributed to the widespread use of fossil fuels, advancements in technology, improved access to resources, and global industrialization.

Q: How has the Great Acceleration affected the planet?

The Great Acceleration has led to numerous environmental and societal changes, including rising temperatures, increased plastic production and waste, mass extinctions, ocean pollution from fertilizer use, overfishing, and a rapidly growing global population.

Q: What are the long-term implications of the Great Acceleration?

The consequences of the Great Acceleration are uncertain, but they could potentially include further climate change, depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, and increased challenges related to clean water, sustainable ecosystems, social equity, health, and food security.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Great Acceleration refers to the rapid and world-changing increase in human activities and their impact on the planet.

  • Throughout history, not much changed for humans, but since the 1800s, the use of fossil fuels, technological advancements, and global accessibility to resources have caused a significant shift.

  • As a result, the world has become vastly different from what it was in the past, and the future consequences of such rapid change are unknown.

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