Industry > Earth

The international Commission on Stratigraphy has not yet officially approved the term Anthropocene as a recognized period in geological time. In the present time there are very few people who outright deny that humankind has been negatively impacting the environment throughout time. Although nearly everyone agrees that we have been negatively affecting the environment for a very long time, there are many that doubters that don’t understand the severity of our actions and don’t see the correlation between climate change and human emissions as clearly as others do. All this aside, I feel that it is harder to deny than it is to accept, and that steps need to be taken to preserve our planet, therefor I am a supporter of the adoption of the Anthropocene epoch to the geological time scale. I believe that the period should begin at 1945 up to the present time. I say this for two reasons, one, the Great Acceleration, during which population doubled in just 50 years (Steffen, 617), motor vehicles increased from 40 million to 700 million (Steffen, 617), and petroleum consumption has grown by a factor of 3.5 (Steffen, 617). All of these factors attribute to climate change and are easier for doubters to understand and take serious which leads me to my second reason. Secondly, and most importantly I think that the Anthropocene period starting in 1945 would be more widely accepted. I think it would be very difficult to convince the world that humankind has been severely and unnaturally altering the environment since the agricultural revolution 8000 years ago such as the following hypothesis suggests; “According to one hypothesis, early agricultural development, around the mid-Holocene, affected Earth System functioning so fundamentally that it prevented the onset of the next ice age (Steffen, 615).” I think this theory would enable the political deniers to push their agenda’s and obtain many more followers. I think in order for the Anthropocene epoch to be accepted, it has to be more commonly understood, and many people would have a hard time believing that a few farmers prevented the second ice age. If we want to gain ground and progress in cleaner energies, we cannot attribute climate change to farming rice. Climate Change needs to be attributed to industry and the massive amounts of CO2 emissions to be widely accepted and result in major societal change.

Dan Kahan talks about why so many people fight the issue of climate change so strongly. He indicated one reason was because people have different cultural values, he stated; “Social-science research indicates that people with different cultural values — individualists compared with egalitarians, for example — disagree sharply about how serious a threat climate change is (Kahan, Nature 288-255).” This directly related to Dr. Whitlock’s presentation in class. She talked about how some people don’t see climate change as an issue unless they are directly affected by it. She brought up one point supporting this view explaining how some small islands in the pacific take climate change much more serious because they are currently living with and noticing the effects of it, more so than the American politician who lives in his East Coast mansion, profiting more off of industry the tiny islands.