Everlasting Impacts of the Anthropocene

If I had a vote on the International Commission on Stratigraphy I would vote to accept the formal adoption of the Anthropocene epoch. In my opinion, the beginning of the Anthropocene should be established at the time where human impacts first began to show up in the geologic record through the mass extinction of megafaunas, such as the wooly mammoth and giant wombats, around the globe (Steffen et al., 614). This would actually establish the beginning of the Anthropocene around 100,000 years ago, which would negate the existence of the Holocene epoch. I suggest this because the end of the Pleistocene was marked by the disappearance of many of the world’s megafauna species, and this extinction event (though not considered a major extinction) can be seen in the geologic record to follow human settlement around the globe. While it is arguable that climate had an impact on such extinctions, the relation to the appearance of humans in the area is undeniable. This is also around the time when humans first began domesticating animals, dogs being the first of them (Steffen et al., 615). Human impacts are seen in the geologic record in increasing prevalence from this point on, and while the authors of all three articles suggest that the impacts of industrialization mark the start of the Anthropocene, I believe that it should begin much earlier.

 

Our ability to remediate climate change is greatly affected by the polarization of climate science, and this polarization is largely culturally and politically driven. Not only can the masses not cooperate on such an issue when it is so severely culturally polarized, but also legislation is all but impossible to pass when the issue is so severely politically polarized. Dr. Cathy Whitlock addressed this issue by presenting the information to Montanans in a way that they would universally understand; she stated the impacts on agriculture and the local environment. This presents a much more tangible effect of climate change, and I think that this is a great way to encourage conversation about climate change between people with polarized views.

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