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 10 thousand or 10 million years from now?
In Footprints, David Farrier explores what traces we will leave for the very deep future. From long-lived materials like plastic and nuclear waste, to the 50 million kilometres of roads spanning the planet, in modern times we have created numerous objects and landscapes with the potential to endure through deep time. 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 tell remarkable stories about how we lived in the 21st century.
Through literature, art, and science, Footprints invites us to think about how we will be remembered in the myths, stories, and languages of our distant descendants. Travelling 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, David Farrier tells a story of a world that is changing rapidly, and with long-term consequences. Footprints will not only alter how you think about the future, it will change how you see the world today.
"What do we owe to the world that comes after us? In this superbly researched and imagined book, David Farrier invites us to expand our sense of deep time to include the deep future." (Caspar Henderson, author of A New Map of Wonders)
"Footprints bears witness to the hastening catastrophe of the Anthropocene, illustrating not just the permanence of the traces humans leave behind, but also the impermanence of the human. Profound, urgent, transformative, it is a remarkable book." (James Bradley, author of Ghost Species)
"It is an oddly hopeful exploration of deep time and a world doing just fine without us." (New Scientist)