The Dawn of the Human Age Might Be Upon Us and It Doesn’t Bode Well
Start writing a post
Politics

The Dawn of the Human Age Might Be Upon Us and It Doesn’t Bode Well

If formalized, the Anthropocene would be a new time period marked by human destruction.

13
The Dawn of the Human Age Might Be Upon Us and It Doesn’t Bode Well
climatica.org.uk

Last week, at the 35th International Geologic Conference in South Africa, a group of scientists proposed that the Anthropocene be officially recognized as a new epoch. If the proposal is accepted by the International Union of Geological Sciences, we will officially be living in the Anthropocene or “age of humans.”

What is an epoch? And what evidence exists for a whole new time period dominated by humans?

An epoch is a geologic unit of time typically spanning thousands to millions of years in the history of the Earth. New epochs are defined by a “golden spike,” or a marker that will be recorded in rocks all around the Earth. Currently, we’re living in the Holocene epoch, which began approximately 12,000 years ago at the conclusion of the last ice age. The Holocene is characterized by stable global climate and the flourishing of human society. However, beginning in about 1950, human activity has impacted the Earth so strongly that geologists believe our time should be considered a new epoch. Our impact on the Earth is large enough that it will show in the rock record millions of years from now.

So what have we done to make such a mark on the Earth? Unfortunately, most of our legacy will be negative.

As reported by Damian Carrington in The Guardian, human activity has:

  • Increased extinction rates way above the long-term average. If we continue on the current trajectory, 75 percent of the Earth’s species will go extinct in the next few centuries.
  • Dumped so much plastic in our waterways and oceans that fossil records will contain identifiable plastic for many generations to come.
  • Doubled nitrogen and phosphorous content in soils with fertiliser use during the past 100 years, the largest impact on the nitrogen cycle in 2.5 billion years.
  • Produced a layer of black carbon through burning fossil fuels that will be permanently recorded in sediment and glacial ice.

For the Anthropocene to be formalized, a definitive golden spike must be chosen to identify the start of the new epoch. Many options exist, including radionuclides from nuclear bomb testing, concrete, nitrates, plastic, carbon, and global temperature increase. Whatever ends up being the formal marker, the acceptance of the Anthropocene will impact human civilization as a whole.

This will be the first new epoch witnessed and caused directly by human beings. If that doesn’t scare you, it should. We’ve caused so much destruction that the Earth may be permanently altered, and we’re far from fully understanding the implications our rash actions. Who knows what kind of world our descendants will inherit? And is the threat of a grim future for our planet enough to wake us up to our self-destructive practices?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Ronny Salerno

This feeling hurts. I must declare

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

10 Holiday Drinks to Spice Up this December's Movie Binge

After all, isn't it the season of drinking...?

2153
10 Holiday Drinks to Spice Up this December's Movie Binge
https://unsplash.com/photos/d-SeLxF_QF0

Thanksgiving has officially ended which means we are in preparation for the final holidays of the year. December is a busy month, filled with shopping and sales, wrapping gifts, planning family gathering and parties, cooking and baking, holiday movies, and of course, lots of drinking. I know that I will be spending a lot of December watching the ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas,

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Planning Another Christmas Party

Don't just plan another plain party but get creative to have everyone wanting to come back next year!

10435
Getty Famous

You know it's Christmas when the radio stations change to all of your favorite holiday tunes, the air is still, and stores have the best sales. With all my favorite things from Christmas happening my least favorite probably has to be when I have to go to another same old boring Christmas party that I get invited to every year. Here are some Christmas party ideas so that you won't have another sad Christmas party.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

For Young Players Who Want to Succeed at The Next Level

14958
High School Soccer is Wildly Important

Whose choice is it? The parent? The player? There are a number of reasons that a kid may sit out of high school soccer, and to be completely honest; It is a huge mistake. High school soccer is the final piece in the puzzle that takes a player from above average or elite, to college ready by the end of their senior year. Every year thousands of talented athletes don't play for their high schools. Why though?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

December is around the corner, are you ready?

11476
8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List
Unsplash.com

As they tend to say, its the most wonderful time of the year! People have begun to compile their Christmas to-do lists in anticipation for the season of sugarplums and gingerbread.

The history of the Christmas to-do lists goes back hundreds of years, almost as old as the holiday itself, however, people tend to fall out of this habit as they get older. This is unfortunate, as the theme of Christmas tradition can add bundles of the spirit of joy to your families.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments