Climb Ate

The Anthropocene epoch should absolutely be added to the geological calendar. While the three authors don’t seems to agree on an exact time for when it began, they still hold similar opinions when it comes to climate change and the impact of humans on the Earth. Steffen and his co-authors in the first reading give a lot of specific examples such as global warming, extinctions, and industrial processes. He argues that the Industrial Era, starting in 1800, was the first stage of the Anthropocene. As a opposing view, some describe the Anthropocene as beginning only after nuclear tests in the mid 1950s. I agree primarily with Steffen and the authors of the other texts to an extent. The Anthropocene absolutely started with industry if not earlier. A common thread between the readings is deforestation, which increased greatly after the 1800s. As Kolbert states, the most significant change “is one that’s invisible to us– the change in the composition of the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide emissions are colorless, odorless, and in an immediate sense, harmless.” This might explain why some argue for the delayed  start of the epoch. However, the processes set in motion during the rise of industry have ultimately caused the greenhouse gas effect, so therefore I would begin the Anthropocene in the early 1800s.


The most important point in Kahan’s article is that climate change has been largely polarized, which has damaged our approach to solutions. Ultimately, he argues that conforming to “your group” is one reason people deny climate change, or even believe it. This is a fundamental problem with our view of climate change, because instead of accepting and studying the facts, most people simply fall on one side of the other for a social/political reason. Cathy Whitlock presented strong evidence to support her claims about climate change. “Culturally polarized democracies are less likely to adopt policies that reflect the best available scientific evidence on matters – such as climate change – that profoundly affect their common interests.” She approached Montana’s openly, and she seemed to focus on the repercussions for people in agriculture and land management. This approach is wise as it establishes a better relationship with scientists and the average citizen. It’s better not to place blame on any individual and instead get them involved in making a difference. One way to encourage discussion about climate change between different groups is to provide neutral environments for these discussions, such as “town hall” type meetings. Often people are charged going into a discussion about climate change because it’s taking place on social media, campus, or another medium that is unbalanced, favoring one side or the other (for example, the MSU campus is more left-leaning on this issue due to the environmental research being conducted here).

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