Along Came a New Epoch

The question of whether we should adopt a new epoch to the geological time scale, the Anthropocene, is quite interesting. If I were to have a vote on the commision I would vote yes. As Kolbert notes that  “Probably the most significant change, from a geologic perspective, is one that’s invisible to us– the change in the composition of the atmosphere… ” (Kolbert). Humans have impacted the environment greatly for hundreds of years and staying within the Holocene does not account for the amount that the society has impacted Earth. The question of when to start this time period would be some-time during the industrial revolution. Kolbert states that the “late 18th century, when, ice cores show, carbon dioxide levels began what has since proved to be an uninterrupted rise. Other scientists put the beginning of the new epoch in the middle of the 20th century, when the rates of both population growth and consumption accelerated rapidly” (Kolbert). Here we can see the first indications of our culture affecting the world around us. The use of fossil fuels have created changes in the atmosphere and ecology that is very different to the would be time period beforehand, granted that the Anthropocene is adopted as the next time period.


Maintaining social ties is one of the reasons that people don’t change their views of climate science. If people are waiting for their peers to change their mind on climate science then we could be waiting for a long time. It just hinders our ability to discuss the problems at hand. In the presentation from Dr. Whitlock she definitely tries to keep an open conversation between residents of rural Montana on the climate problems at hand. I think keeping dialogue as open as possible is the best way to look at the problem.