Anthropocene Era


There are those who say that human beings aren’t responsible for the effects of global warming or various other environmental issues.

A German strip mine. Image by Ekem.

But according to some scientists, humans have affected the world so much that we actually need to change the name of the current geological era to reflect our impact.

We’re currently living in what is called the Holocene. The period started with the end of the last major ice age in 9600 B.C. It’s name translates to €œentirely recent€ in Greek. Several geologists at the University of Leicester and the Geological Society of London, however, want to change the name of this epoch to the Anthropocene (anthro for human) to reflect the effect of humans on the landscape.

The scientists have lobbied the International Commission on Stratigraphy, the international body in charge of naming geological epochs. They argue that humans have physically altered planet Earth and its ecology so markedly that a difference between pre- and post-industrial periods must be drawn.

There isn’t a single place on Earth that remains unaffected by the human impact. Over 40,000 visitors a year, mostly tourists, visit Antarctica for example, one of the most remote places on the planet. Even deep in the Amazon jungle, deer rifles and beer bottles are providing entertainment to the natives.

It’s unbelievably sad when you think about it, because it reveals something about human nature. It is very easy for us to become addicted to civilization. Everything we do is geared towards it, which is really just a heap of marbles we’ve managed to pile up with spit and bubble gum. We’re all living on one of these marbles in this heap, in our own little worlds with our own little agendas and programs. All the marbles are connected and intertwined, stuck together with spit and bubble gum and technical wizardy, all of it dependent upon piling up even more marbles ever higher.

We’ve built a giant pyramid of these marbles, but the entire thing is shaking to it’s foundation and is about to fly apart. The crash this is going to make will be devastating. I truly cannot describe how horrifying this is going to be.

We are three generations of people who do not understand anything else, totally insulated and removed from our environment and the effects we have had upon it. Our little marble worlds we live in only permit us to see just a little bit of what’s really going on, and it’s so big, that when we actually get a glimpse, we recoil with sheer shock. We’re totally stupefied, we don’t know what we can possibly do to stop this.

The Anthropocene era won’t last much longer. As we devour every known resource and energy supply, our population levels will crash terribly; this is what we call “die-off”. It’s a natural cycle in nature, humans will also suffer from the same fate. Our horror will be knowing what is happening to us and that we are the reason it is occurring. Kind of like taking a slow poison that interacts with your nervous system and starts shutting down vital organs.  You’re watching yourself die, bit by bit, but your totally incapable of doing anything about it.

There is no antidote, no cure. The only cure is to kill the cause – us.

I’m not trying to sound morbid, but there is a harsh and painful truth headed our way. Our addiction to civilization is killing us by degrees and that of the planet. The cure is to let civilization die along with most of humanity.

The shaking has already long started, but it’s now showing up in the average American home.  No job, no retirement, for some already, no home.  The homeless lines are already getting longer, foreclosures are way, way up and going to get worse very soon (March), the economic outlook across the entire globe is headed for disaster.

And we’re still very, very busy, assembling our marbles, polishing them up and sticking them together as fast as we can while we suck the remaining world’s resources dry, still refusing to admit that all of our spit and bubblegum can’t possibly keep this pyramid of ours assembled forever.  The warning signs are everywhere, but we’re just too busy to really notice.


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5 thoughts on “Anthropocene Era

  • January 29, 2008 at 10:35 am

    And in the really long-term, any intelligent beings around millions of years from now will undoubtely see our time as one of the *major* geologic boudaries —— i.e. the end of the entire Cenozoic era, with a disaster at least as great as (and in a much shorter timeframe than) the famed extinctions ending the Mesozoic.

  • January 30, 2008 at 7:12 am

    This was an interesting article: Survival in Times of Uncertainty: Growing Up in Russia in the 1990s

    The limiting factor in the survival, on both the level of the individual and the community, was not the ability to produce your own products and not even the available resources or lack of them. It was transport and infrastructure – the ability to trade, deliver your surplus elsewhere and from there get other things you need.

    This is why rural areas and small towns in Russia took a very hard hit in the 90s, and may never fully recover, as some say. One would think it should be exactly the opposite – people would have gone into the remote villages and live off the land and the woods. However, even in the most self-sufficient household one cannot produce or make everything needed.

    Casaubon’s Book linked to it (link).

  • January 30, 2008 at 9:10 am

    How about the era of “What’s in it for me Pocene”

  • January 30, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I’ve been wanting to write an entry about how men will be forced to change back to manliness (for lack of a better word) during and after the collapse. This is actually happening right now.

    I think there is a LOT of fear in those who’ve never learned how to take care of themselves. Some see what’s coming and they’re very afraid.

    This is a very touchy subject in today’s politically correct climate. Quite a few men we have today are too soft, weak, or effeminate. This is true also of women, and both groups are hugely overweight (published reports are 55% and growing).

    Collapse will bring about incredibly difficult times. One of the things that goes out the window is democracy and “equal rights”. These moral positions can ONLY survive when there is abundance. When abundance is gone, the law of the jungle will return and only jungle cats will survive, everyone else is prey.

    That’s the highlights, and I think it’s got more then a few people scared to death.

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