The Anthropocene

The geologic time scale is something that has been edited and changed since it was created by geologists hundreds of years ago; however, the biggest edit it has seen yet is right on the horizon, the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene, as defined by Malm is the “epoch of humanity”, in other words, we have exited the Holocene and are now part of a new epoch completely influenced by humans and human activities (Malm, p.1). As it stands, because of the vast amount of evidence that points toward the idea that humans have truly altered this planet on a grand scheme, I do support the naming of the Anthropocene. As mentioned by Kolbert, humans are altering the Earth by building cities that in turn creates erosion and other environmental effects (Kolbert, p. 3). Humans have also increased the parts per million concentration of carbon dioxide substantially due to the use of fossil fuels (Steffen, p. 3). Due to these facts, I think humans have altered the environment of Earth enough and within a short enough time that the Anthropocene be considered its own individual epoch. As for where it would start, both the Steffen and Kahan articles talked intensively regarding the effects of the discovery of fire and how that began the human rampage of altering Earth’s natural environment which is why I would start the Anthropocene there.

The issue with this classification is that many people still don’t believe in the anthropogenic causes of climate change. This idea goes back to the talk from Cathy Whitlock and how she tries to appeal to both sides of the spectrum; she realizes that some of the people she talks to refute the ideas she supports, so instead she offers them climate predictions and possible outcomes without telling them they have to support her ideas. I think that if we’re going to make climate change a discussion able to be had between people from opposite ends of the spectrum, we must accept the other person’s ideals and try to meet somewhere in the middle, wherever that may be.


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