We have reached an unprecedented moment in planetary history. Humans now change the Earth’s systems more than all natural forces combined. This is the central argument of the proposed current geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

An exhibition now on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario by photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. A spectacular set of photos and film focused on our human impact on the Earth.

It was a lot to take in. The images were quite beautiful while at the same time, the subject matter, whether the slums of Nigeria or the mining of American landscapes, was heartbreaking. It’s clear humans are impacting the Earth in a transformational way. The exhibition itself was more about presenting the facts rather than a point of view of what to do about those facts. That, of course, is up to all of us.

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