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Archean to Anthropocene: The past is the key to the future

by on January 8, 2012

The Anthropocene is a recent and informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. The term was coined by ecologist Eugene Stoermer but 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 era for its lithosphere.

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 time. 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 if the Anthropocene will be formally accepted into the Geological Time Scale.

Many scientists are now using the term and the Geological Society of America titled 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 18th century). Other scientists link it to earlier events, such as the rise of agriculture. 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.

Wikipedia’s Anthropocene

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From → Environment, Science

3 Comments
  1. Lawrence Newell permalink

    Combine the Anthropocene, geothermal warming, and the rise and fall of civilizations based on historical analysis by historians like Arnold Toynbee in his A Study of History, Jacques Ellul’s The Technological Society and you’ve got the makings of some serious speculation on the future of the human species. Combine this with the current dysfunctional behavior of America’s two party system raises considerable questions about the survival of Western civilization as we know it. Virtually all great civilizations have come and gone. How much longer might we have if conditions don’t change?

  2. Lawrence Newell permalink

    OK

  3. Lawrence Newell permalink

    Approved…go ahead and print.

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