Journeying through remote landscapes across the Earth and beyond, VOYAGERS seeks to understand how human exploration has driven us into the Anthropocene.
Our Journey into the Anthropocene
by Lauren Fuge
Text Publishing (Australia), August 2024
At night, as I stargazed from my tiny tent, I’d hear the primal whalesong roll up along the ocean floor and onto the beach where I lay. The ethereal melodies seeped through my shivering skin, like a relic of an ancient time. I felt as if I was eavesdropping across millennia, the sound stirring some faint genetic memory deep inside me.
Since the beginning of human history, we have been wanderers. Modern humans left Africa by 150,000 years ago, heading first to Asia and Europe, then Australia, the Americas, and finally—in an incredible feat of innovation and imagination—across the Pacific. Our explorations yielded great rewards: land and resources, food and knowledge. In every landscape we have explored, we have become a force of change. Humans are the dominant influence on the environment. And our surging population and insatiable industrial metabolism are outgunning the planet’s own forces: the sea is sucking at our doorsteps; the forests fall too quickly for us to hear. Still, we seek new seas to fish, new oil deposits to drill, new land to develop. A compelling blend of natural history, science and memoir, journeying from the dramatic fjords of British Columbia to the ancient geology of outback Australia to the shifting coastlines of Norway, VOYAGERS asks: What drives our urge to explore? How has it influenced our relationship with the planet? And, in the face of imminent environmental collapse, can we find in our voyaging history the tools to reimagine our future?
Lauren Fuge is an award-winning science writer. She has been a science journalist for Cosmos magazine and was awarded the 2022 UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing; her writing features regularly in the Best Australian Science Writing anthology. She is undertaking a PhD exploring creative forms of climate communication.