Them Are Fightin’ Words

If I had a vote on the commission about the adoption of the Anthropocene epoch and its addition to the geologic time scale, I would probably say yes. Malm’s main point has to do with the idea that everyone contributes to the changes in our environment, through how we live and what we endorse. This isn’t we can pretend we don’t have some part in. Kolbert made the point that despite the time that the humans began this new epoch (where our impact on the earth’s environment became sudden and extremely noticeable) remains uncertain, (was it with the invention of agriculture? Or when carbon levels rose due to industry? I favor industry, because the impact is well recorded and distinct) that doesn’t mean that it isn’t currently happening, and an idea we must learn to face. Steffen then lends what he believes to be the different stages of the Anthropocene. First, the 1800 and the Industrial era, then right after the second world war to now is the second stage, where everything from population to McDonald’s restaurants grew exponentially. The third stage is a look towards the future of how our endeavors have changed and will change our planet with a bit of luck and a lot of work, we might be able to reduce our impact- or at least slow the destruction down. I don’t doubt that we have had a significant impact on our environment, or that it’s time to do something about it. And, if my only power is to say that it officially exists, then that is what I’ll do.
If we can’t admit that there is a problem, or if we are only saying there is one because of a hive mind scenario, it’s impossible to develop helpful ideas for getting out of this mess, let alone implementing them. The best method I can think of is not unlike Whitlock’s approach when talking to people about sensitive subjects so intricately linked to character, is to meet them where they are at and go from there. Ask them what they see and have experienced, and the same from those around them. Find out what they care about and help them understand how close or far from the ideal we currently. Hounding someone with data and facts is just going to put them on the defensive, and no change can be made to better our planet if we spend all our time fighting each other.

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