Anthropocene: idea or New Era?

Anthropocene: idea or New Era?

            After reading the articles and watching the videos on blackboard I asked myself, is this just a debate or is this a new epoch? According to “Geology of mankind,” “Age of man” and “Geologists drive golden spike toward Anthropocene’s base” there is a record that temperature is expected to increase on Earth (1.4 to 5.8 Cº this century), species are disappearing, and carbon dioxide and methane production (1.4 billion in this century) in the atmosphere is now significantly higher than in the past two centuries. What can we say about this? It does not really sound like just an idea.

            The term Anthropocene is becoming more popular among society and according to “Geologists drive golden spike toward Anthropocene’s base” running a “Web search for the Anthropocene and 520,000 results pop up.” Not only that, but universities and colleges already have started to implement courses about the environment and its changes, as well as the Anthropocene era. It is very clear that the word Anthropocene and its meaning to people is starting a new way of interpreting the environment and the relationship between man and nature.

I would like to leave a question for you guys in my first post: What do you think after reading and researching about “Anthropocene”? Do you think that maybe Earth is just naturally adjusting to us or are we breaking the natural cycle that Earth should follow?



11 responses to “Anthropocene: idea or New Era?

  1. Luis,
    Great approach to the terminology of Anthropocene. After having just completed a Bioethics course and researching how population affects the environment, not once did any of the articles that I read introduce or even mention the term. I was quite interested in the articles that Dr. Findling left for us to read, mostly because of this on-going debate on whether or not the term of Anthropocene needs to be implemented into scientific research and development. After studying greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and other environmental hazards, I believe that it is safe to say that population does have something to do with this specific geological shift. That being said, I believe that there is enough solid evidence, such as through the study of industry’s effects on the environment, that allow for the term of the Anthropocene to begin to make its way into talk on how population has impacted the environment. Anyone else feel that this terminology just needs to be implemented for the sake of not only warning the population, but because we have indeed moved into a new epoch?


    • I am glad that you have some background on human and environment relationships because it will be good to learn from your experiences in this bioethics course. I agree that there is enough evidence but it will be up to society and future generations to decide if we are actually breaking the natural cycle of the Earth. Than you for your post.


  2. I like your take on the reading assignments from this week. I think it’s interesting how colleges, like us, have began to offer courses on the subject. It’s definitely a topic that is big right now, as it rightfully should be. We are significantly changing the environment around us with our carbon dioxide emissions and the like. The only thing I wonder about is how this change will actually appear in the rocks that will be examined by future stratigraphers and geologists. How different will they actually appear?

    • Thank you Amanda. It will be definitely interesting to analyze and examine the rocks in the future. It is pretty clear that the idea of “Anthropocene” is spreading among more cultures, which will make this “Anthropocene” era stronger than just an idea.


  3. I think anthropecene is a new era and not only an idea. As time does and many changes occur in the surroundings, people become more aware of the epoch that we are in. The earth has been there before us and it can sustain itself sufficiently without us, it does not have to adjust to us. We are the ones breaking the natural cycle of that earth and that is why we see lots of catastrophies taking place recently.

    • Nkya246776,
      I think that “Anthropocene” is a new era as well. However, I think that when scientist say “global warming” they should have more evidence because temperatures and climates in the Earth have been always changing, and I think that one of the reasons why “Anthropocene” is not included in scientific research and history yet is because Earth has been always having different cycles and epochs, so maybe this is just a new epoch, or not. What I meant is that, is this a new cycle or are we destroying Earth?


  4. Good post, Luis! I think you and your commenters are right, given the evidence cited in the various articles you mention, that there is something more than “just an idea” going on. (At the same time, let’s recognize that ideas are powerful things in themselves. Even if it is not JUST an idea, the very much Anthropocene IS an idea — an idea proposed as a way of framing and expressing and making sense of the various phenomena we see unfolding around us today.) I also like the way you put your finger on the issue of “naturalness” in your closing question. Are the impacts that we humans are having on the world around us disruptive of nature — are they somehow unnatural? Maybe — but if we are learning to see ourselves as more part of nature than separate from it, then it’s harder to see how anything we do could truly be unnatural. In which case, we would need another standard by which to evaluate our actions than whether or not we are breaking the Earth’s natural cycle. These are central issues for this course, and we’ll talk a lot more about them in the weeks to come.

    • Thank you Dr. Findling. I agree with you. I think ideas are powerful and even though “Anthropocene” does not have enough evidence at the moment, in the near future it will. One of the things that concern me the most is the melting of the poles and ozone layer, which I think it is something that we should really worry about. In my case, I worry a lot because I live right next to the sea. I am looking forward for future discussions about climate change and “Anthropocene.”

  5. Luis,
    I was rereading comments this morning and decided I wanted to post on your wall. A thought I have had, now that I have digested the material from our readings last week, how can humans not be affected our environment? As the population grows so does the need for materials. We are constantly taking from the environment and very little is put back. I know a few companies try to keep things supplied (Weyerhauser in Washington State plants trees so they can keep cutting them in the future). Anthropocene might not get backing by the geology world as of right now if the rocks don’t tell the story. But I think the rest of the communities are seeing our affects on the environment.

  6. Thank you for your post heath. I also think that the environment is very important and that we should take care of it. Like I said before, it will be up to us to decide if the environment will shift to a unpredictable epoch that could make living conditions very hard.


  7. Luis, what you said is very true that we take so much from the environment and very little is put back. When I look at the recent disasters like tropical storm sandy, irene etc it doesnt take a weather expert to see that frequency of disaster has increased. It really worries me when I think about the future of next generations. I know we enjoy the improvement of technology as years go by but definately we pay a higher price on the other hand.

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