Lord of the Rings: A Stratigraphic Tale of Human Influence

            Humans undoubtedly have major effects on the environment. Malm explains that the onset of capitalism is the reason we make surpluses of material, and that making money and capital becomes a priority over environmental car (Malm, 1-3).  Research done by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science backs up this idea. They explain that humans had always had some effect on the environment. We have been burning coal since 11th Century China (Steffen, Crutzen, & McNeill, 615). However, recent production has become a problem. They say, “nearly three-fourths of the anthropogenically driven rise in CO2 occurred since the 1950s” (Steffen et. al., 617).  According to these authors, many of our effects on the environment have to do with the rise of capitalism and industry. Many want to know if we are at a place where we can say humans are having a significant enough influence on the environment to be considered a new epoch. Kolbert explains that in the future there would be stratigraphically noticeable points of the effects of humans. He explains that we build buildings and farm which will provide documentation of our effects stratigraphically (Kolbert, 2-3). If I had to vote, I would say we qualify for a new epoch. Especially because we would have stratigraphically noticeable effects. However, I think the name the Anthropocene is more self-gratifying than we deserve. I think this epoch should begin about the 1950s because of the effects noticed since then by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science.

            Dan Kahan does have a point when he brings up the point that people are affected by the views of those around them. As he says we tend to take sides and consult those who have similar views to us (Kahan, para. 11-13). We tend to side toward the information that confirms our beliefs and our political parties’ views rather than trying to find the truth. Cathy Whitlock and her team did create a video discussing wildfires with Montanans. She brings up many reasons to support the truth of climate change like draughts. She encourages communities for people to get information and talk about these issues. She does all of this with the explanation that this is a call to action and we need to start making movements towards fixing climate change.

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