The Industrial Revolution: The Beginning of the End

The International Commission on Stratigraphy is voting on whether or not to add the Anthropocene epoch to the geological time scale. If I had a vote on this decision I would vote yes to add it. Humans have made such a large impact on the earth throughout our history, but nothing compares to what we have done since the industrial revolution. It is well documented that humans can have an impact on the earth. It is estimated that humans thwarted another ice age 5,000-8,000 years ago simply because of some deforestation. (Steffen 615.) Now, fast forward to the industrial revolution where we became incredibly reliant on new machines and technologies. These new machines put an incredible amount of CO2 in the atmosphere which is very rapidly changing earth’s climate. If humans could alter the course of earths’ climate thousands of years ago by cutting down trees imagine the changes earth is going to go through post industrial revolution and through to the future. If I had to choose when this epoch is, I would either say at the start of in the industrial revolution in the mid to late 19th century, or post world war II. I would choose these because the industrial revolution is when it all started and after world war II is when all these new machines and technologies took off for all people around the world.

According to Dan Kahan, people can’t agree on climate science because people generally do what their peers do. This means that people generally will not have a differing opinion from what people in their immediate culture think. An example that he uses is that a local store owner in South Carolina won’t make people sign a petition on climate change because it is not a norm in their culture to think this way.

3 thoughts on “The Industrial Revolution: The Beginning of the End”

  1. I like your article, I thought it was incredibly well written. However I f=don’t completely agree with moving into the epoch because making that major amount of change in a short time will end up having a effect on the climate that is negative and worse rather than maintain and changing over a greater time. I think That people are easily affected to their peers is understandable because climate change is a touch topic and the recent politics have been so toxic the past couple of years. I think that they try to avoid that subject so that they don’t look stupid or risk having a long drawn out argument of which is factual evidence that has been research. I think everybody has an opinion of the climate because its such a popular topic to talk about. I think the majority of people are coming to the idea that it is happening. The question now is how much humans have to do with it.

  2. Hello Cameron, this was a great blog post altogether! I liked how you highlighted what humans have done to the earth since the industrial revolution by stating how we stopped an ice age 5,000-8,000 years ago. This was directly due to humans causing deforestation as you said. We have entered a new era of using machines that get the work done at much faster pace. The issue is that those machines pump very unhealthy amounts of C02 into the air. I totally agree with that and that it is rapidly changing the earth’s climate. On your second paragraph It makes sense that people will tend to think the same as their piers but we should do what our heart thinks above all else.

  3. Cameron- I agree with your proposed start dates of mid 18th century or post world war two. I feel that, as an epoch should be clearly defined, merely saying traces of human activities can be found in post- agricultural revolution sediment layers should not define the start point of the new epoch. As you said, the effect humanity had on the environment skyrocketed within the last 300 years. Before the start of the industrial revolution, our activities still fell well within the limits of natural regulation. with that in mind, I would choose the mid 18th century as the start point for the Anthropocene.

Leave a Reply