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Andrew Alden

"Anthropocene" Reaches the Buzz Stage

By October 5, 2011

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Since 2002 I've followed the proposal, originating from Paul Crutzen, to add a new epoch at the present end of the geologic time scale named the Anthropocene, acknowledging the preeminent role of humans in the global cycle. In recent years the idea has taken deeper root among scientists, and earlier this year it hit the big time thanks to National Geographic magazine. In another signal of its rise, tomorrow Science magazine hosts a chat session on the topic titled "Are We Entering a New Geological Age?" That seems well timed, as the Geological Society of America's huge annual meeting, which starts three days later, has the title "Archean to Anthropocene: The Past Is the Key to the Future." (I'll be attending; watch this blog for posts from the scene in Minneapolis and follow the hashtag #GSAMinn on Twitter.)

Related:
Introducing the Anthropocene
The geologic time scale
Fossils, geologic time & evolution resources

Comments

October 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm
(1) Karen says:

I’ve even heard it suggested that we rename the entire Holocene the Anthropocene, since our ancient ancestors were using fire to open up the understory of forests and make a more hunt-friendly environment at least for the last 10,000 years.

October 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm
(2) Geology Guide says:
October 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm
(3) Karen says:

Sorry Andrew, I didn’t read it on this site, I read it during a seminar I took on the Anthropocene (but I can’t cite the reference off the top of my head). I like the idea of the Anthropocene being an age of the Holocene. There’s always the hope that we’ll start managing our planet more effectively, and we can start a new age.

I can’t separate “Holocene” from “modern” in my head. I’m stuck in geologic time…

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