Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Anthropocene: The new epoch of humans

Posted by Fredsvenn on January 9, 2015

Anthropocene

Dawn of the Anthropocene Epoch

The Anthropocene is an informal geologic chronological term for the proposed epoch that began when human activities had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems.

The term—which appears to have been used by Russian scientists at least as early as the 1960s to refer to the Quaternary, the most recent geological Period—was coined with a different sense in the 1980s by ecologist Eugene F. Stoermer and has been widely popularized by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist, Paul Crutzen, who regards the influence of human behavior on the Earth’s atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological epoch for its lithosphere. To date, the term has not been adopted as part of the official nomenclature of the geological field of study.

In 2008 a proposal was presented to the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London to make the Anthropocene a formal unit of geological epoch divisions. A large majority of that Stratigraphy Commission decided the proposal had merit and should therefore be examined further. Steps are being taken by independent working groups of scientists from various geological societies to determine whether the Anthropocene will be formally accepted into the Geological Time Scale.

Many scientists are now using the term and the Geological Society of America entitled its 2011 annual meeting: Archean to Anthropocene: The past is the key to the future. The Anthropocene has no precise start date, but based on atmospheric evidence may be considered to start with the Industrial Revolution (late eighteenth century). Other scientists link the new term to earlier events, such as the rise of agriculture and the Neolithic Revolution (around 12,000 years BP).

Evidence of relative human impact such as the growing human influence on land use, ecosystems, biodiversity, and species extinction is controversial; some scientists believe the human impact has significantly changed (or halted) the growth of biodiversity.

Those arguing for earlier dates posit that the proposed Anthropocene may have begun as early as 14,000 to 15,000 years before present, based on lithospheric evidence; this has led other scientists to suggest that “the onset of the Anthropocene should be extended back many thousand years”; this would be closely synchronous with the current term, Holocene.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: