Is Anthropocene the right name for a “New Era.”? Are we running out of ground water? Artificial light abuse?

One of the articles that I chose to read “Anthropocene is the Wrong Worldby Kathleen Dean Moore summarizes one of my main doubts about the debate of this “New Era.” It actually called my attention how she named our “monstrosity” of destroying many species, “a moral monstrosity,” she said, and this moral is breaking the planetary scale because we do not know “what will replace them.” This personally scares me, because is true that the world is getting super populated and many species like Thylacine, Quagga, or Baiji River are extinct and this is increasing faster due to hunting. There is enough evidence that we are clearly destroying species of the Mother Nature.

Another thing that I thought it would be interesting to share with you guys is that we should be cautious about naming this “New Era.” Kathleen Moore said that “new epochs are not named by the destructive force that ended with the epoch before.” For example, “The International Committee of Stratigraphic didn’t name the Tertiary Period the “Asteroidic,” even if an asteroid is suspected of having ended the Cretaceous.” For the Anthropocene case, even if we were the ones who made the Earth switch to a “New Era,” Anthropocene in my opinion would not be the right name because epochs are named according to the article ”after the place where geologists found the boundary between two assemblages of fossils.” Do you think that “Anthropocene” is the right name for this suggested New Era?

The second article that I choose was “Running Dry” by Jessica C. Kraft. Not long ago, a friend of mine told me “the next World War will be caused by the use of water.” After reading this article and other articles on internet on my own, this is actually concerning me somehow. Jessica C. Kraft mentioned in the article that “According to UNESCO estimates, groundwater use has tripled in the last 50 years. Researchers say the reservoir would require 54 times as much rainfall as it now receives to replenish the water that has been taken out.” I found this article quite interesting because the World is getting super populated and the usage of natural resources like water are not unlimited and we need to keep a balance so humanity and animal life can survive. We cannot expect to get water from the ground all the time because rainfalls, now that the World is getting warmer, are unpredictable. I think this is another important issue that should be included in this “New Era.”

Lastly, my third article is “And Incredibly Bright” by Holly Haworth. “What does this loss of natural darkness mean?” J. Harworth says. According to the article, breast cancer and observation of dangerous meteors are the main consequences of this increase of using artificial light. The article states that in the United States a 99% of people uses artificial light and only a 1% uses natural light. The article also mentions that wildlife is having a harder time than us to get used to artificial light and they are getting more active at night, which breaks their natural cycle. In other words, we might be destroying wildlife conditions by using so much artificial light at night time. When we sleep the body produces melatonin which “reduces the body’s nocturnal production of estrogen – a hormone that can stimulate growth of cancer cells.” Thus, we might increase the possibility of having cancer in the future. However, we still do not fully know about the ecological consequences of living at night time. In my opinion, cancer, wildlife, and the observation of possible dangerous meteors are enough reasons to worry about this topic.

What is going on with the World guys? Where is this leading us?



8 responses to “Is Anthropocene the right name for a “New Era.”? Are we running out of ground water? Artificial light abuse?

  1. Luis,
    Very interesting choice of essays/articles this week. Going along with your first reading, I am not sure that (using the author’s evidence) that Anthropocene would be the correct terminology for this era UNLESS there is significant evidence of humanized fossilization. Then again, our previous readings last week tried to explain the need for more stratigraphic study on sedimentary layers, so hopefully this kind of research will put the author of this essay at ease. As for the second reading, I have always believed that water will someday “run dry”. It’s just a matter of time before us humans, animals, and even the natural ecosystem suck our planet dry. Then what?! Finally, the third reading isn’t something that is discussed much when it comes to human influence on the environment. Sure, we talk about climate change, greenhouse gasses, and even water usage. But, does the use of artificial light ever come up as an environmental hazard? I really enjoy these random-topic articles and essays from the Journal website, mostly because topics of discussion are included that aren’t usually one’s first thought. It’s sort of interesting to think that we can have so much impact on the environment by using something light, which may seem mundane yet necessary for our lives today.

  2. Good choice on articles! They all sound very interesting. I hadn’t even thought of artificial light as something to be concerned with before reading your post. That’s just the normal thing to use, you know? But I can definitely see the author’s point. That being said, I just finished a pathophysiology course where we learned that we’re not exactly for sure on the effects of melatonin in long term use, so I don’t know quite whether to believe this article or my professor. I do know it’s a lot more complicated than what the author made it out to seem, though. That might be interesting to look into more.

  3. I am interested to see what they come up with in the article about melatonin and the affects of artificial light. We know to much of anything can be bad for our systems, but what real evidence does this author have. Amanda talked about taking a pathophysiology course and how they don’t know the effects. There is speculation to what melatonin can do, but this author seems to be trying to scare the readers. The body is very complex and chemicals do many different things. The fact is our bodies adapt and so do animals. There is a cause and effect for everything we do and we should be aware and study them.

  4. We haven’t really been getting much rainfall in several different regions. Our freshwater resources are being used up. In Kansas, the price of water had increased due to water shortages in our reservoirs. Can you imagine how much water is going to cost within the next couple of years?


  5. “Running Dry” was an article I ran across too and thought about sharing, so I’m glad that someone else did. I think it’s interesting that your friend said that the next world war would be about water. In today’s world you wouldn’t think that with all the fighting about oil. Especially since the majority of Earth is covered in water. But I can kind of see that happening. There is that treaty stating that all the water are free and don’t belong to anyone. So hopefully a war of water never becomes an issue. But you never know.

    • There are places throughout the world that is dealing with privatization of water. I had a class which talked about the water wars in Cochabamba. People had fought over water, which should have been free to the public. It was so controversial they even made a movie about it called “Even the Rain”

      • roriemilner

        Wow, that’s crazy! I had no idea. I really hope that it doesn’t explode and become a world wide issue.

  6. Just one other thought about the possibility of a war over water versus a war over oil. Certainly there is every possibility of both, and some would argue that wars over oil have already happened. But I would just point out that oil, while of vital importance, is not irreplaceable in the same way that water is. There are many alternative sources of energy, and while none of them can yet produce the huge quantities of cheap energy oil can, the very conditions that might lead to a war over oil (rising prices, limited access) are the same ones that would make the alternative energy sources price-competitive. In other words, while the price of alternative energy keeps going down, the price of oil will keep going up, and once those lines intersect, the main reason for fighting over oil will have been taken away.

    Unfortunately, the story is different when it comes to water. There is simply no substitute for good old H2O.

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