Anthro-no-cene

If I had a vote on the The International Commission on Stratigraphy about whether to formally adopt the Anthropocene epoch to the geologic time scale, after reading Steffen, Kolbert, and Malm I would reject the decision to add this epoch. While I agree that yes, “humans are altering the planet by building cities… farming… [and] fertilizer factories,” these activities are a result of capitalism as Malm suggests (Kolbert, 2-3). As Malm states, the climate crisis is “a class between the expanding demands of humankind and a finite world” (Malm, 3). I agree with Malm in his statement that blaming all of humanity for climate change, as the Anthropocene suggests, lets capitalism off the hook. The reason why humans are building cities, why deforestation occurs, etc. is because of the increasing needs of the economy and capital.

Kahan argues that people’s views on climate change are not based in their inability to understand climate science, but rather in their need to fit in with their social peers. This affects our ability to develop solutions to remediate climate change because with any problem, the inability to have a civil, structured conversation makes it difficult to come up with solutions. Kahan states that “people with different cultural values…disagree sharply about how serious a threat climate change is. People with different values draw different inferences from the same evidence. Humans act around confirmation bias and accept evidence that matches with their values and push away “threatening” information that challenges their values. In order to encourage and engage conversations between different peoples about climate change, you must present the information you want them to accept in a way that isn’t threatening to them. It’s completely possible for two different parties to talk about controversial issues, it is just a matter of how you present the information.

One thought on “Anthro-no-cene”

  1. I would have to disagree with you, I think that when we label the period the Anthropocene Epoch it is not letting capitalism off the hook, I believe it is giving us a warning. The period can be averted as we have seen in our previous readings. I simply see the labeling of the period as a deterrent to continue in our ways, in no way do I believe it lets capitalism off the hook.

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