According to Christian Diehm’s Identification with Nature, our lives as human beings is shaped and defined by our natures. At first, I was skeptical as to what he was saying, because I have lived in the same home for over 18 years and have developed my own personality that is completely different than my rural country/redneck town. However, in the article, Diehm further explains that nature doesn’t necessarily mean the physical environment that one can see. He says that people identify themselves by a “sense of commonality” (3). So, does this mean that I identify myself by having commonalities with nature? Yes and no. Diehm does say that “to identify personally with nature is to develop a sense of connectedness to entities in the local natural community with which we have had personal contact” (6), but there is so much more that defines a so-called ‘local natural community’. These communities, as the article states, are relationships and connections that we have with others in certain environments. Therefore, we become identified with the people we associate ourselves with just as much as being defined by the places we go to. If this is the case, then I should defined as a peppy, spontaneous Target addict…which I have no shame in admitting! What would be your identification?
One of the most influential and well-respected physicists, Albert Einstein, once said that “The environment is everything that isn’t me”. While his observation may seem quite obvious by stating that people cannot be trees, or grass, or icebergs, I don’t believe Einstein was ready for the shift of the geological epoch that is known to be the Anthropocene. First coined in the early 2000’s, atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen gave the present-day era a fitting name that emodies the essence of the people’s influence on the environment.
According to the article “Geologists drive golden spike toward Anthropocene’s base”, Paul Voosen states that the earliest human influence on the environment could be dated back 40,000 years ago. However, Crutzen notes the “Great Acceleration” period of the early 19th century to be the most influential. With the introduction of the Industrial Revolution came not only a flourishing of businesses and new technology, but also a population growth that affected the environment since. According to the United Nations, the population in the 1950’s (right at the beginning of this acceleration period) was around 2.5 billion people, which was a lot for post-war period. However, the population recorded in 1999 showed that nearly 6 billion people inherited the earth and around 7 billion people today. According to this rise, population could be up to 9 billion people by 2050. What will this mean for the environment?
With the growth of people comes more greenhouse gas emissions, which is one of the causes of climate change and “global warming” in the environment. But, according to Will Steffen in his video lecture on the Anthropocene, there are many other factors that affect the environment which are caused by people, such as ozone depletion and ocean acidification.
There is still controversy surrounding the globalization of the term Anthropocene to be used as a scientific term. Many believe that we have indeed moved into a geological era that has been shaped and molded by people, but there are some (including Cruztzen) who feel that more stratigraphic research on the earth’s sediment layers is needed before jumping to conclusions. Most believe, though, that the term Anthropocene does indeed give people a sort-of “warning” about what kind of influence that they have on the environment that they live in. While Einstein might have had good cause for saying what he did, I don’t think that even his intelligence could have predicted that people would not only shape but eventually become their environment.