What is this so-called Anthropocene?

Before I started this course, I had no idea what the Anthropocene even meant. People would ask me what the course was about and I had not the slightest idea what to tell them. After doing the reading assignments and watching the videos assigned for this week, I have a much better understanding of what exactly the Anthropocene means. Although each article had some small differences in the amount of details they went into, they all have the general same concept: We have left the Holocene epoch and have entered into a new epoch, or possibly even era according to the video “Confronting the Anthropocene” with speaker Andrew Revkin, revolving around human impact on the earth.

The articles proceed to give specific facts as to why we are changing the earth, possibly not for the better. In the article “Is the Anthropocene an Issue of Stratigraphy or Pop Culture” the author speaks about how we may not be aware of how our technology and culture may be overshadowing the earth’s tectonic, climatic, and eustatic processes. The article then goes on to speak about how more proof is necessary before we abruptly end the Holocene and start a new epoch. I tend to agree with this article. I know that we are changing the environment around us by our greenhouse gases and the like, but I tend to want to see a little more proof of changes in the actual rocks. After all, the rocks in the earth are what current stratigraphers use to separate the different time periods.



6 responses to “What is this so-called Anthropocene?

  1. I enrolled in this course because I needed to learn something new that I have learn before. The anthropecene seems to be right right course because I did even know what the word means as I was enrolling for the course. Now I do understand that anthropocene gives a broader view of a relationship between mankind and its environment.

  2. We were definitely in the same boat about this course prior to it beginning. I am in two other courses, and sometimes I would just tell people I didn’t remember the third one. It was just easier than trying to explain what this course was about, especially since I wasn’t sure myself.

    We both were interested in the same article, but we have two different takes on it. I think that what you had to say was very interesting. I see what you mean about the changes in the environment not being for the better. We do hear a lot about global warming and the decrease of greenhouse gases. We rarely hear reasoning for these statements. Maybe I’m just not looking into it enough.

    • I can see what you’re saying when you say we rarely hear actual reasonings for the negative things we’re doing to the environment. I really hadn’t heard any specific reasonings until I took my Bioethics class last semester. We went over several things similar to the issues in this class. I definitely recommend the class if you haven’t taken it! It was an eye-opener to see what all exactly occurs in the environment due to our species. I’m sure we’ll read about more reasons in this class too, though, as we continue through the next 7 weeks.

  3. Pingback: An Economic Ethics for the Anthropocene | synthetic_zero

  4. Pingback: An Economic Ethics for the Anthropocene, Katherine Gibson | synthetic_zero

  5. Great post Amanda! I identify myself with your post because I was actually in the same situation. Two weeks ago a few of my friends asked me about this course and I had no clue what to tell them. Now, I have a good idea of what this course is about and I like the approach of it. However, I cannot say yet that I would have a strong argument because like you said, we do not have enough evidences yet to call “Anthropocene” a new epoch. I also agree with how the rocks will determine if we are shifting to a New Era, but we cannot say that at the moment. I think that this century will be very important in Earth’s history.


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