The World Might Have Entered Into Another Epoch – The Anthropocene

The Logical Indian

September 8th, 2016 / 12:17 PM

Image Courtesy: independent

On August 29, an expert group at the World Geological Congress in Cape Town recommended that the new epoch – Anthropocene – be officially declared. It claimed that the time had come to ring down the curtain on the Holocene, the current epoch, and recognising that Earth has entered a new one, the Anthropocene.


What is an epoch?
Epoch is a subdivision of the geologic timescale. Others are era, age, period and so on. Geological history of the earth has been through many such epochs like Paleocene, Miocene, Pleistocene, Holocene, etc. Currently we are living in Holocene epoch.


Holocene
The Holocene epoch began 12,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. This is a climatically and geologically stable period. It encompasses the growth and impacts of the human species worldwide, including all its written history, development of major civilizations, and overall significant transition toward urban living in the present.


Anthropocene
Recently, there has been a growing consensus among geologists that we are living in a new geological epoch marked by the impact human beings have had on Earth since the 20th century. As its name suggests, the point of this new epoch would be to acknowledge that humans, far from being mere passengers on the planet’s surface, now fundamentally affect the way it works.


Doom inching closer
Since the 1950s, human beings have begun to alter the earth’s surface and atmosphere in significant ways. Significant geological changes, which usually take thousands of years, have occurred in less than a century.

The unprecedented increase in the extinction rates of flora and fauna, large amounts of radioactive material in the atmosphere and the surface of the earth (caused by nuclear testing), an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and an unprecedented amount of plastic in the earth’s surface and on the ocean floor testify the claim.

There has been expansion of food production. In 1750 about 5% of the Earth’s surface was farmed. That figure is now around 50%. This has huge costs in terms of changes in the nature of the soil. In addition to this, dams hold back billions of tonnes of silt. As a result, river deltas everywhere are shrinking.


When does Anthropocene start then?
The group pushed for high point of nuclear-weapons testing since 1950s as the starting point of the new epoch. Fallout from those tests scattered plutonium, an element vanishingly rare in nature, far and wide across the planet. At the congress, the AWG’s members voted for this “bomb spike” to be the marker. That makes the Anthropocene more than half a century old already.


So is it official?
Not yet. The proposal must make its way through several strata of geological bureaucracy. The last step will be a vote at a meeting of the International Union of Geological Sciences. If that passes, then we can claim to be officially in the new epoch.


Opportunity
The new age also presents an opportunity. The hope now is that humankind and its leaders can collectively and consciously take their new responsibility seriously. With climate change consciousness emerging among societies and governments all across the world, this presents as a good opportunity to self-introspect and engage in positive manner to save humankind from our own made kalyug.


Contributors

Edited by :

Share your thoughts..

Related Stories

BSF Tej Bahadur Yadav

BSF Jawan’s ‘Daal’ Video Might Have Led To Mutiny, Hence Sacked: Govt

Union Minister Makes Another Communal Rant, Says Secular Citizens Don’t Have Identity Of Their Parents Or Blood

After Rail Ministry’s Claim That Train Accidents Have Declined, Another Derailment In UP Injures 74

Amidst Gau Rakshak Violence & Basirhat Riots, Here Are Some Positive Stories That You Might Have Missed

Delhi Gang Rape

It Was 16th Dec 2012; This Is 16th Dec 2016. Another Day Another Rape In Delhi

My Story: I Can’t Use My Gift To The World For I Am Supposed To Have Difficulties Even Meeting Another Person

Latest on The Logical Indian

News

UP: Police Kills Two In An Encounter, Journalists Allegedly “Invited” To Film The Incident

My Social Responsibility

This Mumbai Man Is Bringing Volunteers To Collect Broken Ganesh Idols Left At Sea Beaches After Immersion

News

Is Defence Minister Right About Incapability Of HAL To Produce Rafale Jets?

Awareness

The Ground Realities Of An ‘Ideal Village’ In Bihar’s State Capital

News

Number Of Infant Deaths At Five-Yr Low In India, But Still Remain Highest In The World: UN Report

My Social Responsibility

This Team Reduced 4.2 Tonnes Of Carbon Footprint By Replacing Plastic In School Experiment Kits

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.