In Theaters May 31

After Earth Science

In the fictional world of After Earth, history teaches of a global ecological disaster that made life on Earth impossible for humans. The film is science fiction, but parts of After Earth's backstory bear a disturbing resemblance to certain current, real-world scientific findings. Jaden Smith and Danni Washington remind us of our role in protecting Earth-and challenge us to do our part to avoid the type of disastrous consequences seen in the film.


Some elements of After Earth's fictional history look real to scientists studying the consequences of human activity. A growing number of scientists agree that we should begin calling the time we live in the "Anthropocene epoch" because our species has become such a major force for global change. Astonishingly, you can see that pervasive human influence from space.

Source: Courtesy of Owen Gaffney International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences,, and Félix Pharand-Deschênes,
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Learn more about the Anthropocene here