Bridging the Gap

  1. I would vote “Yes” to adding the Anthropocene epoch to the geological calendar. In my opinion, the Anthropocene should start at the development of agriculture. At this point, humans have fundamentally changed not only our own behavior, but the land around us. Steffen, Crutzen, and McNeill say that agricultural development “affected Earth System functioning so fundamentally that it prevented the onset of the next ice age.” Kolbert says that “38 percent of the planet’s ice-free land is now devoted to agriculture.” The development of agriculture drove humanity toward globally changing out surroundings.
  2. Dan 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 solve problems in several ways: it divides the two “opposing sides” of the argument, which prevents a conversation from happening. It may alienate a person from their social group, which may prevent people from speaking out. And the polarizing topic prevents any reasonable legislation from being passed. Dr. Cathy Whitlock addressed this problem with “listening sessions,” where her research team spoke with, and more importantly, actively listened to, groups that climate change has and will affect in Montana. As far as my own ideas for “bridging the gap” between opinions on climate change, I thought Dr. Whitlock’s approach as a listening-based research team was very effective. Now if only we could apply that to a national or global scale…

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