The New Epoch: Have We Made Our Mark Yet??

From my own understanding of human impact on our environment and after having read the pieces by Steffen, Kolbert, and Malm, I believe that the Anthropocene epoch is an essential period to the geologic time scale. Not only are we beginning to understand just how colossal the effects of our activities are and will be in the near future, but that these impacts began long ago. In my opinion, the Anthropocene epoch should begin with the first agricultural revolution. While it was not until later during the industrial revolution that growth became more rapid and consequential, I think the spread of plants and animals including humans that occurred as a result of the agricultural revolution is certainly an essential piece of the history of the world. As Kolbert states, “The boundaries between epochs are defined by changes preserved in sedimentary rocks–” meaning cities will not be so relevant as they will be ground to dust, I believe that the movement of people and what they introduced/killed off in their wake will remain in geologic records (Kolbert). Kolbert also states that, “human biomass is already a hundred times larger than that of any other large animal species that has ever walked the Earth” which is largely attributed to the changes in human activities that took place during the first agricultural revolution (Kolbert).

It is incredibly more difficult to attempt to remove someone from a group that has a certain set of beliefs than to show them the chart and graphs of what is emanate if we continue on this course of climate impact. Cathy Whitlock understands this, and that’s why she adjusts her rhetoric depending on her audience. For example, she has found that using the term “changing climate” is much easier for people who are one the fence about anthropogenic climate change to digest. In writing her Montana Climate Guide, she worked with those who are less convinced by the science yet will be affected heavily in their livelihoods in the coming years in order to change the culture to a more unifying experience, no more us and them. I think that in order to have these conversations in a productive way with varying demographics, it is crucial to change one’s language and present to them how the effects of climate change will affect their lives on a more personal level. People see climate change as a looming possibility that is not yet severe, this is where we must start in changing people’s perceptions.

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