The Age of Man: A New Epoch?

During the Industrial revolution changes within the Earth’s environment were able to record the beginning of new epoch according the Paul Crutzen. He coined the term Anthropocene a little over a decade ago. The term Anthropocene is defined as a shift between the environment due to the activities man.

With the Industrial revolution there were changes in concentration of carbon dioxide and methane. Man began using the Earth’s resources exponentially creating environmental transformations.

With the Great Acceleration around the 1950’s, human development had increased. This also caused depletion in resources. During this era we have concerns with overpopulation. Should boundaries be created against procreation to deter the end of humanity?

Anthropocene should definitely be used to define this era even though there isn’t any geological evidence to claim so. There have been obvious changes within the environment, such as biodiversity loss, loss in resources, and overpopulation indicating a new era.



6 responses to “The Age of Man: A New Epoch?

  1. Ava,

    I had just finished a Bioethics course in which I researched and presented on the effects of overpopulation. One of the articles that I read, written by a man named David Attenborough, gave his personal thoughts on solutions on what you put as “boundaries being created against procreation to deter the end of humanity”. His solutions were either to enforce contraception on others, or to increase the death rate. I was wondering, since you had asked the question on whether or not boundaries need to be created, what your opinions on the subject-matter were? Personally, I had to disagree with Attenborough, but after reading these few articles on what the Anthropocene is, I find myself questioning my opinion on the matter at hand. I kind of wish that I were taking these courses simultaneously!


  2. I was thinking that promoting the use of contraceptives could possibly help but also there are those who are religious in their beliefs about contraceptives. It is really hard to try to put boundaries upon something like procreation. Increasing the death rate goes against what the norm is, which is to preserve life. I do agree with you that these solutions to reduce the population aren’t that great. This is a major problem in our new epoch, which is leading to our extinction.

  3. You make an interesting point about procreation. I agree with your comment about how it’s hard to enforce public-wide birth control use, especially since there’s so many different belief systems. I think maybe more education would help people be more willing to using contraceptives. Of course there would still be the people who wouldn’t use them for belief reasons, but if there was more education, people who didn’t have reasons to not use them may use them more. Also, more education on what exactly our over-populated world is doing to the earth may promote contraceptive use as well. Before the few classes I’ve had that have discussed these environmental issues I really wasn’t very aware of what exactly was happening and what all the “global warming” and the like meant.

  4. If you watch the video The anthropocene by Will Steffen it indicates that the human population has increased significantly from 1950 to 2000. The overpopulation has a signicant effect to the global economy as now almost 1billion people go without food everyday. Trying to find a way to the rate of overpopulation would be one way to avoid problems in our epoch.

  5. Trying to find a way to reduce the rate of overpopulation would be one way to avoid problems in our epoch.

  6. It’s interesting to see how the topic of population (it’s debatable whether or not “overpopulation” is the right term–the question is complex because it’s not just about numbers; it’s also, more importantly, about resource management — production, distribution, and consumption) emerged as the main issue of the comments here. Ava, you made several points in your post, but I can see why the idea that maybe there should be “boundaries against procreation” would attract attention. That sounds pretty scary and authoritarian! But certainly a huge part of the equation when we are talking about human impact on a global (and not just local or regional) level is our sheer numbers — which continue to grow rapidly, especially in many more economically disadvantaged parts of the world. It’s a discussion that has to take place, alongside many other discussions, if we want to avoid the “nightmare” scenario where population reduction happens, not by gently and by choice but violently and by force (whether nature’s own force or the force of those who are competing for resources, like water or oil, that will have become all too scarce).

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