Have you ever looked at the world through the lens of “deep time”? Carter speaks to Marcia Bjornerud, author of Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World. They discuss why the title of her new book is a play on “mindfulness,” and the importance of being able to appreciate the perspective of geological time. Bjornerud suggests that our species tends to have a “temporal illiteracy.” By embracing a more profound view of Earth’s history, we can better understand our own lives and the timescales on which planetary change happens. They discuss the history of geology and the emergence of a new science of “catastrophic events” like the meteor that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Sometimes bad things happen to good planets. Bjornerud brings her “geo-evangelical” perspective to the discussion, her rich sense of the natural world, and her deep knowledge of the Earth’s history. She suggests that by appreciating the dynamic history of the biosphere, and our intrinsic relationship to the planet, we will be better stewards of Earth’s future.
More about Marcia Bjornerud
Marcia Bjornerud is Professor of Geosciences at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Bjornerud’s research focuses on the physics of earthquakes and mountain building, and she combines field-based studies of bedrock geology with quantitative models of rock mechanics.
She has done research in high arctic Norway (Svalbard) and Canada (Ellesmere Island), as well as mainland Norway, Scotland, New Zealand, and the Lake Superior region. She received a BS in geophysics from the University of Minnesota and MS and PhD degrees in structural geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to teaching at Lawrence, Bjornerud held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University and a faculty position at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Bjornerud is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Oslo, Norway and University of Otago, New Zealand. She is the author of Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth and Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World as well as a contributing writer to The New Yorker, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Wired.
Buy the Book: Timefulness