What subscribers are saying:

  • “Jason, you are one of the most powerful, measured, eloquent, perceptive, and… fair-minded essayists on Substack and should be required reading for everyone in this trainwreck of the Anthropocene. I am very happy to be a paid subscriber.” – Michael, Lux Umbra Dei

  • “Barry Lopez would have welcomed and praised this essay, Jason. We miss him, but his legacy remains in essays like this one. Thanks.” – Bryan Pfeiffer, Chasing Nature

  • “This essay is so beautiful...itself a thing to cherish...a thing to wake us to what we need to preserve and care for in the weeny bit of time before it's all gone!! Thank you for these deeply moving and informative essays.” – Kathleen Sullivan, Code Red and Me: Rethinking Everything

  • “You are an incredible writer and the Field Guide is my favourite thing here on Substack.” – Rosie Sherwood, A Nomadic Rose

  • “This essay is spectacular, Jason--one for the ages. Thank you for helping all of us feel the world differently.” – Jenny Mayher

  • “Jason - Your writing makes me pause, feel, remember and reflect, cry from sorrow, cry for the beauty, explore new research and reread favorite authors, and sometimes just sit and consider phrases such as “quietness... as in a modesty of presence.” Thank you for each one of your columns that I’ve read and enjoyed, the ones in your archive I have yet to read, and those yet to be birthed!” – Laura Kerr

  • “Brilliant and incisive, as usual, Jason.” – Jim Mastro

  • “This is wonderful writing. Humans are a strange breed, and getting stranger by the day. Thanks for all your writings and thoughts.” – Loree N.

  • “Disturbing, essential reading.” – Terry J. Allen, Opposable

  • “Jason, a perfect read this morning. As I was drinking my coffee I greedily absorbed each word. What wonder. Loved each poetic sentence...” – Laurie

  • “Thank you, Jason for all this wonderful, informative and even hopeful writing about our planet, climate change, biodiversity.” – Maureen Stanton

  • “I’m in bittersweet tears after reading today’s essay… Your writing is gorgeous, masterful, impactful.” – Leann Calixtro

  • “Jason Anthony, in Field Guide to the Anthropocene, does good work—which in this case is most appropriately described as a combination of good thinking and good writing. On top of which, he’s banging a drum we should all be listening to much more closely than we are.” – Perry Clark

About the writing

Field Guide to the Anthropocene is a weekly essay/letter exploring the fundamental changes we’ve made and are making to the Earth. The Anthropocene (“the new age of humans”) is the name suggested for the new geological epoch initiated by these planetary-scale changes.

A field guide is a tool for identifying what can be observed in the world. The Field Guide to the Anthropocene, then, is a resource for identifying the features of this new world we’ve inherited and are passing on, and for discussing the solutions, both cultural and technological.

I’m interested both in seeing the world as it is and in understanding how we got here. How did simply being human come to mean upending all of life on Earth?

A field guide to the Anthropocene is both easy - the changes are everywhere if you choose to see them - and impossible, since the impacts are beyond counting.

I am a writer articulating the disrupted world to you in language that is both direct and poetic. To get to the heart of things, I tell stories, explore ideas and solutions, provide environmental litanies, discuss population, talk about science, share some history, and review a broad array of sources. My essays toggle between describing the disrupted world and reminding you of how beautiful and astonishing that world is.

My angle on the world is often Antarctic. I worked in Antarctica for a decade, and because I became deeply connected to that landscape and our history within it, much of my initial thinking about the Anthropocene came from observing what our colonies on the ice said about the culture that built them. Our brief history in Antarctica is in many ways a microcosm and analogue of the Anthropocene.

Think of this, then, as notes on the end of the familiar Earth by someone who has been to an end of the Earth.

About the writer

Before starting the Field Guide, I wrote primarily about Antarctica, most notably in my award-winning book, Hoosh, and in essays published in Orion, VQR, The Missouri Review, The Best American Travel Writing 2007, and elsewhere.

I was the 2014 Literary Fellow for Maine.

I was also the ghostwriter for The Little Things: A Memoir of Paralysis, Motivation, and Pursuing a Meaningful Life, a memoir by the remarkable Jack Trottier. Read about Jack and the good work he’s doing at the Jack Trottier Foundation for spinal cord injury.

I’m deeply indebted to the MacDowell Colony, the Dora Maar House, Hewnoaks, and Norton Island for fellowships and artist residencies in support of early work on an unrealized project titled Unnatural Earth: Antarctica and the Anthropocene, which turned out to be not a book but the path that led to this writing.

My wife Heather Hardy and I live in Maine, that state of grace wedged between the U.S. and Canada. Until recently, we shared our life with an old, fluffy collie named Mollie.

Subscribe to Field Guide to the Anthropocene

A weekly essay/newsletter on the transformed Earth - as it is, as it was, and as it might be - that promises thoughtful, well-researched writing and a dose of pessimistic optimism.


Writer, teacher, Mainer, former Antarctican. Author of one book and numerous essays/articles on Antarctica. Ghostwriter. Citizen of the Anthropocene.