An interactive tool for exploring the Anthropocene

This interface allows you to explore different facets of the Anthropocene via interactive graphs that trace the evolution over time of several indicators such as human population size, energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, global surface temperature....

On the graphs, the year 1950 is symbolized by a vertical line; this date could mark the beginning of the Anthropocene if it were to be officially recognized. The graphs show that for certain indicators (GDP and energy consumption, for example), 1950 does indeed coincide with an abrupt inflexion, corresponding to the start of the "Great Acceleration". The recent evolution is of such amplitude and speed that it tends to crush all previous variations!

However, for all indicators, the graphs show variations prior to 1950, reflecting the difficulty of defining a precise moment at which humans significantly modify the earth's surface. For example, energy consumption and GHG emissions began to rise sharply in 1850, at the start of the industrial revolution and the massive use of fossil fuels.

All these exponential (un)growth curves naturally beg the question: how far and how long can this continue?

Anthropocene explorer

Application developed with the Shiny package ( from R software (