We are a time-illiterate society, and our lack of a sense of temporal proportion underlies many of the intractable environmental and social problems that we have created for ourselves. As a culture, we have no instinct for the durations of the great chapters in Earth’s past, the rates of change during previous intervals of environmental instability, and the intrinsic time-scales of ‘natural capital’ like groundwater systems. This seminar seeks to change participants’ perception of time. It will demystify the methods by which geologists have charted the distant past, give participants a sense for the natural rates of Earth processes, and compare these with rates of human alterations to the planet. The group will discuss strategies for how to build a more “Timeful” society capable of clear-eyed long-term planning.
Marcia Bjornerud is Professor of Geology at Lawrence. Her research focuses on the physics of earthquakes and mountain building, combining field-based studies of bedrock geology with quantitative models of rock mechanics. Bjornerud has done research in arctic Norway and Canada as well as Scotland, New Zealand, and the Lake Superior region. She received a BS in geophysics from the University of Minnesota and PhD in structural geology from UW-Madison. Bjornerud is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and was a Fulbright Scholar in Norway and New Zealand. She wrote a previous book for popular audiences, Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth and contributes to the New Yorker’s science and technology blog, Elements.
NOTE: THIS SEMINAR IS FULL FOR LODGE RESIDENTS