The Changing of the Climate

There is enough evidence in place to accept the addition of the Anthropocene epoch to the geological calendar. The impact humans have had on the Earth is an unprecedented phenomenon, with definite geological effects caused by agriculture, deforestation, carbon dioxide emissions, and other such exclusively human behaviors (Kolbert, p. 3). The term Anthropocene is a fitting name for this epoch of time, because noting that we are currently in the Anthropocene (and have been for a substantial period of time) places the responsibility of what is happening on ourselves, rather than external environmental factors. I agree with Crutzen that the late 18th century is when the Anthropocene started, because there is geologically present evidence in ice cores that this is when carbon dioxide levels began their uninterrupted rise (Kolbert, p. 4).

The political stigmatization of climate change is definitely the biggest inhibitor of our ability to develop remedial solutions. This matches Kahan’s claim that fitting in with social peers is what informs people’s personal views on climate change, as political ideology is one of the most prominent and defined social grouping in our culture. When presented information on climate change, it is common for people to look towards those of the same political mindset to form their opinion rather than look at the scientific evidence. As Dr. Cathy Whitlock mentioned, most Montanans are aware that there is a change in the climate, but as soon as the term ‘climate change’ is presented, they begin to disagree. The best way to open up discussions about climate change is to remove it from any sort of political context and instead look at it from a completely neutral view; if developing different terms and working on a fact-by-fact basis helps provide consensus better than the umbrella term “climate change,” then this is the path that should be taken to start working towards progress.

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