Difficult But Necessary Conservations

This week’s readings have been very thought provoking as they discuss the many different sides of when did humans successful change all aspects of nature and how do we identify the culprits involved. Certainly, I believe we are in a world where all corners of the world are being affected by humans and the biproducts of our history as a people. That being said I would agree to add the Anthropocene as a new epoch to the geologic calendar but finding a date to when it began proves to be much more difficult. In some cases, such as pre-historic humans using coal, fire and other natural resources or the ideas based off of infants depending on a “toilet-mother” as John Keene refers to in Malms 2015 magazine article entry it is uncomfortable to believe humans seem to be a type of invasive species to the world and the Anthropocene has been a long time in the making. Additionally, if one of the goals in identifying a new epoch ruled by human activity I don’t think we are going to see the great change if we just define humans as being detrimental to the earth since our evolution but putting it closer to “the great acceleration” in the 1950’s would have a greater effect on society to recognize and change. The examples of extreme population growth and CO2 emissions released beginning in the mid 20thcentury (Steffen et al.) I believe marks a significant understanding that current human activities are the large cause for altering the natural processes which occur on our planet.

Dan Kahan’s article was very stimulating as well in identifying why communication about climate change has been such a fighting battle especially between like-minded people. Furthermore, he describes it is the polarized cultural views which people rationalize with far too much when trying to understand a person’s view or expertise on climate change. I really enjoyed hearing about Cathy Whitlock’s tactics in talking to rural landowners, farmers and ranchers about climate change as she identified some of those people having increased stress about their financial well-being because of climate change. Some other ideas to encourage positive conversations between these different groups about climate change could involve finding common ground in what resources we depend on as people and how much we need. Also we could find commonalties between polarized groups such as the egalitarian vs individual example that climate change is global and affects all people.

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