Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We've entered a new archaeological period (apparently)

I mentioned yesterday that I was a fly on the wall recently at a gathering of very unique and creative thinkers - members of the Association of Management for Innovation.

I had the pleasure of introducing the concept of sustainability to this group. I used illustrative examples to show how the increasing interconnectivity of a fast growing human population is creating a whole new set of conditions within which businesses need to learn how to operate. In this new era there are risks - such as diminishing resources and variable human rights standards - and there are opportunities - such as greater mobility and access to new markets at the 'bottom of the pyramid'.

The group pondered and discussed this new set of conditions and concluded that they did agree - business has never before done business under these circumstances. A re-writing of the rule book is underway.

It was during this discussion that one of the participants shared that he was recently on an archaeological tour of Greece and his guide pointed out that it is generally accepted that we have indeed crossed into a new and distinctly defined archaeological period. 10,000 years from now scientists examining their ice & soil cores and digging up ruins from human settlements will notice a distinct delineation around the time of the 20-21st centuries. This will mark the start of an era where humans significantly impacted their environment.

Will they find evidence of large scale urbanization? Open pit mines? Deforestation? Elevated carbon levels? Ruins from manufacturing sites? Will they find differing clues on different continents? What will they conclude about the civilization that dominated the globe during the period 1900-2500?


Stephen said...


This is a very powerful post. "A new archaeological period." I have never thought about the environmental problem in such terms before.

I think you just re-converted the choir.

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