Gathering news from around the world as an editor for the scientific journal Nature, Gaia Vince had a unique perspective on global events. And, she soon realized, an unsettling one: Many of the reports that crossed her desk seemed to share the common theme that human activity has brought Earth to the brink of a precipice, where things as fundamental to life as we know it, a relatively stable climate and survival of fellow planetary passengers were teetering on the edge. Wanting to better understand the problems — and explore what people might be doing to solve them — Vince quit her job in 2008 and set out on a trip that would extend across more than 40 countries and take four years, covering activities ranging from a pair of Peruvians painting a mountain white in hopes of regenerating a lost glacier to construction of an eco-city in China. The resulting book, Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey Into the Heart of the Planet We Made, offers a remarkable firsthand tale of change and response. Ensia caught up with Vince in London to get the story behind the stories she discovered.
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