I agree with Ruddiman that the anthropocene started 8,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture (Kolbert) when deforestation caused CO2 levels to increase staving off another ice age. It was the first time in human history that we made a substantial ecological impact by intention. Perhaps the geologic record wouldn’t reflect this fact to the exact year of the start of agriculture, but geologic timescale is much greater than human timescale. Malm’s perspective is also extremely valid because the CO2 emissions are not emitted equally among the people of the world, capitalism ensures that CO2 continues to be emitted. I think that a major issue is that producers like Exxon actively deny it and point the finger at the consumer. Green capitalism has also really taken off, an industry that again, is based on consumption and not reduction. From a capitalist perspective, it makes more sense having the people focus on turning their lights off, and recycling their plastic rather than focusing on how to dismantle the systems in place that have brought us here.
I think Kahan’s perspective is very interesting and I can’t help but agree. We are social creatures who crave acceptance and will go to great lengths to fit in. Dr. Whitlock was very smart in her approach to talking with Montanans about climate change. Her yearlong listening tour was an excellent way to see what exactly Montanans care about and what they want information about. In turn, she came back with relevant information tailored to the interests and needs of those people. Her approach is exactly the way to start a conversation about climate change, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Kolbert, Elizabeth. “Enter the Anthropocene – Age of Man” National Geographic 219 (March 2011): pp. 60-85.
Malm, Andreas. “The Anthropocene Myth: Blaming all humanity for climate change lets capitalism off the hook,” Jacobin Magazine, 30 March 2015.