- May 4, 2017 11:00 pm
- 19:24 mins
(originally aired July 13, 2016) Guest: Melinda Zeder, PhD, Curator Think about all the laws aimed at trying to fix the damage humans have done to the landscape – the Clean Air Act, the Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Underlying them is the notion that, in a perfect world, we could roll back the clock and restore the ecosystem to its pristine state. But, pristine is impossible – and maybe never really existed – according to a provocative research paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An international team including archaeologists, geneticists, ecologists and anthropologists concluded in the article that humans have been leaving their mark on the planet for millennia: way before the industrial revolution or the colonization of the world’s islands and even before they invented the wheel, humans were changing their environment. And not all for the worse, either.