Don’t Be So Hasty

I would personally not vote to accept the Anthropocene into the the geologic time scale. There is a significant amount of mounting evidence that a new age is being reckoned in through the changing of the atmosphere and the general landscape of the Earth, however the changes have been very recent and rapid. As Kolbert states, The Holocene has only been in action for 11,500 years, and epochs generally extend for considerably longer than that (Kolbert 1,2). Furthermore, Malm states that “some universal trait of the species must be driving the geological epoch that is its own, or else it would be a matter of some subset of species,” (Malm 2) and then proceeds to state that human nature plays multiple roles in climate change not related to the Anthropocene story. Additionally, Will Steffen displays multiple graphs detailing the rise of energy types being used, technological development, and actual carbon emissions, all of which show a steep rise centered around the mid-twentieth century. Because of this, I believe it would be a hasty decision to deem a new epoch as occurring based off of the environmental impacts of human industrial revolution of the last hundred or so years without knowing whether or not the effects can be subdued or resolved.
Kahan’s point that people are less concerned with the actual science of climate change and are in fact more worried about their social status is an excellent point to make. The intense political divide that is ever present and ever strong in America has impacts reaching far beyond politics and into worldwide environmental health. Because the average person wants to be accepted by their peers, they will be willing to deny certain scientific findings, hindering the universal scientific progress toward a more healthy and safe environment. Dr. Whitlock is taking the correct approach to bringing climate change to rural Montana, by carrying the conversation with values as opposed to politically charged arguments. People will often be more receptive to information that would typically be contradictory to their beliefs if there is a way infuse their values, as Whitlock does when bringing up the importance of land to Montanans.

One thought on “Don’t Be So Hasty”

  1. I would also vote no, I agree with your point that it is hasty to try and add a new geological time frame with so little evidence. I also thoroughly enjoy your second paragraph as well. I think you focusing on Kahan’s point is an excellent opening. It is interesting to think about how others opinions matter to us. I wonder if in the future people will look at our generations vanity and claim that it is what ultimately killed the planet. (And by that I mean we are well aware of the topic, but we are allowing big business and our peers to silence us and ignore us.) Perhaps in the future as people grow more independent real change will begin to occur. Political parties are certainly interesting and their effect on the country is absolutely undeniable.

    I also agree that Dr. Whitlock is going in the right direction. By relating the topic directly to peoples lives, she is revolutionizing the field.

    Thank you for sharing,

    Kayleen Kidwell

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