Introduction to Anthropocene

Some are saying we are leaving the Holocence epoch and entering a new stage. Until this last week I did not know what this meant. Anthropocene, what was that? I took this course because I am planning on becoming a Biology Teacher and I needed another class for this summer. I looked at the course catalog and couldn’t find any science classes, but there was another class (Intro to Anthropocene). I had to research what this was all about. I was pleasantly surprised to find the topic to mesh well with my chosen path. Anthropocene is an interesting idea or term that has been played around with for about a decade starting with Paul Crutzen. The term means there are changes in the environment due to the actions of human beings.

The Industrial Revolution was a modern marvel that has changed the course of the world, but some of the changes were not expected. The mass amounts of CO2 released in the air is causing sickness and the Green House effect. The use of mass transportation is amazing, but then we have an oil spill and not only does it kill wildlife, but families lose jobs due to there being no fish to fish.

“Is the Anthropocene an Issue of Stratigraphy or Pop Culture” talks about how we should pull back on the reins before we end the Helocene epoch and begin the Anthropocene epoch. I am inclined to think he may be right according to how these times are defined in the soil, but I also think there is a very valid point in looking and studying what we are doing right now as human population.

I recently taught a lesson on the food web to a bunch of college students. I had them playing with their favorite foods and then started to take away a vegetable or fruit and they got to see the trickle affect as a bug disappeared in an environment. My intention of this lesson was for the students to see how we (human beings) are impacting our environment for good or for bad. This was one of my better lessons I had designed for the semester. I had no idea I would then be taking a class to focus on this topic.

Whether changes in the rock confirm what age we are in, we as humans need to be critical of what we are doing to our environment and be cautious to avoid mistakes that could damage the earth and ultimately our species all together.



4 responses to “Introduction to Anthropocene

  1. I have a question for you since you said you are studying to become a Biology teacher; do you think we will see drastic changes in our lifetime? My personal belief right now is that we will not see any changes in the way humans treat our planet unless we get “scared”. Thought?

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  4. As a personal belief I don’t think so. During the time when “The Greenhouse Effect” was really big I didn’t see to many people change their ways. America is a consumer nation who wants the quick and easy way instead of the hard way. With proper education and time the next generations could make a change. My worry is it could become to late and distract measures to save our world would need to be taken. This is personal belief not based on fact mostly on light observation. As a teacher, my goal is to open the minds of my students in the world of science and see why and how to apply it to their lives. The Earth is amazing and we all to often forget to stop and look around.
    A little example. Here in Wichita we are worried about our ozone layers currently. Last year the EPA almost penalized the city because we were exceeding the limits. The city has posted on the signs on Kellogg ways to avoid this. I was asked about the signs and what they mean. Did many people heed the warning? If we get penalized, then people will pay attention because prices (gas, food) and taxes will go up. Jobs will be affected because business may get fined. People will pay attention as long as it directly affects them. The problem, again, with that is the environment takes time to heal and we don’t want to get there.

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