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Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils

Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils

by David Farrier


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A profound meditation on climate change and the Anthropocene and an urgent search for the fossils—industrial, chemical, geological—that humans are leaving behind

What will the world look like in ten thousand years—or ten million? What kinds of stories will be told about us?

In Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, the award-winning author David Farrier explores the traces we will leave for the very distant future. Modern civilization has created objects and landscapes with the potential to endure through deep time, whether it is plastic polluting the oceans and nuclear waste sealed within the earth or the 30 million miles of roads spanning the planet. Our carbon could linger in the atmosphere for 100,000 years, and the remains of our cities will still exist millions of years from now as a layer in the rock. These future fossils have the potential to reveal much about how we lived in the twenty-first century.

Crossing the boundaries of literature, art, and science, Footprints invites us to think about how we will be remembered in the myths and stories of our distant descendants. Traveling from the Baltic Sea to the Great Barrier Reef, and from an ice-core laboratory in Tasmania to Shanghai, one of the world’s biggest cities, Farrier describes a world that is changing rapidly, with consequences beyond the scope of human understanding. As much a message of hope as a warning, Footprints will not only alter how you think about the future; it will change how you see the world today.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250785831
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 03/02/2021
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 540,217
Product dimensions: 5.27(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

David Farrier teaches at the University of Edinburgh. In 2017, Footprints won the Royal Society of Literature's Giles St Aubyn Award for Non-Fiction. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Table of Contents

Introduction Traces of A Haunted Future 3

1 The Insatiable Road 27

2 Thin Cities 55

3 The Bottle As Hero 89

4 The Library of Babel 117

5 Medusa's Gaze 153

6 The Moment Under The Moment 179

7 Where There Should Be Something, There Is Nothing 221

8 The Little God 249

Coda Seeing The New World 283

Selected Bibliography 289

Acknowledgments 305

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