Anthropocene: Marking the Beginning of the End?

It is hard to argue against the scientific data that shows the immense impact humans have had on our planet. About a decade ago, Crutzen introduced the term Anthropocene as an opposition to the idea that we are still living in the Holocene epoch. He argued that we can no longer ignore the massive changes that have been caused by humans. I do agree with this change in eras to be considered scientific as the data is compelling. I think this epoch would begin around the time that the human population began to grow exponentially and extremely fast. This would be early to mid 1900s. This is when we start to see radical change in the CO2 levels and the impacts that had on many different ecosystems within our environment. Though these epochs are determined geologically (Kolbert), I believe that the ways we are altering our planet now will eventually have larger impacts on the geology of Earth.

Dr. Cathy Whitlock had to face the challenge of speaking to Montanans, people who have a strong respect for tradition and may possibly be among the non-believers of climate science. Seeing this was maybe an uphill battle, Dr. Whitlock changed the way she spoke about her scientific findings. By changing her terminology from “climate change” to “the changes in climate” she shifted the stigma of a liberal agenda to one that many could relate with. She asked Montanans what physical changes they have seen in the environment in their lifetime here in Montana. This greatly impacted the responses she received and allowed the people with whom she was speaking to relate to these issues on a personal level. Respect is key when approaching a controversial topic like climate change and you must put yourself in a position to be listened to but also to listen to others concerns and understandings.

1 thought on “Anthropocene: Marking the Beginning of the End?”

  1. I completely agree with your assertion that the start of the anthropocene coincides with an explosion of the human population. Setting the time to the early 1900’s makes sense as the environment has felt the full effects of the industrial revolution. Although we have always had a significant impact on the environment, being actors within it, I would argue that we haven’t permanently been altering it until very late in our history. The inventions and technologies that we began to use in the early 1900’s completely changed our relationship with the environment, never before had we exploited resources on such a massive and efficient scale. As for your thoughts on Whitlock, again, I agree. In order to have any sort of dialogue with opponents to your own beliefs, an understanding and respect must be achieved. Overall, I think that your response to the readings is thoughtful and well informed.

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