Thursday, May 1, 2014

#122 / Anthropocene

In These Times magazine has written an article on "The Dawning of the Age of the Anthropocene." The "anthropocene" title is proposed as a way to designate a new epoch in world history in which humans are "radically reshaping the earth's surface." I've written about the anthropocene before, and Elizabeth Kolbert, in particular, has been popularizing the name. 

Jessica Stites, who wrote the recent piece in In These Times, quotes a study by NASA'S Goddard Space Flight Center to the effect that there is a "potential for 'irreversible' collapse of civilization in the next few decades." The study goes on to make the point that "the key factors are both environmental and social."

In short, says, Stites, "the issue is political."

That it is. 

We live, most immediately, in a "political world." 

But that's not the world on which we ultimately depend. 

Ultimately, we depend on the World of Nature to sanction and support whatever we do. If we break the rules that govern the World of Nature, the "collapse of civilization," which is the world we create, is "irreversible" indeed.

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1 comment:

  1. Neither you nor Jessica Stites seem to understand what the word anthropocene means. It's a geological term. Geologists study rocks. The most significant impact humans have made on the rocks dug up by future geologists are the trace elements from leaded gasoline, coal powered electric plants, and nuclear bomb testing. Next comes lack of certain fossils due to loss of biodiversity from to predation (fishing, bush meat, etc.), deforestation, pollution, and climate change.

    This is not the same as "radically reshaping the Earth's surface" nor has it anything to do directly with the "collapse of civilization" which, by the way, is hysterical alarmist nonsense.


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