• @sping
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    131 month ago

    We’re not in the Anthropocene because the next epoch hasn’t taken shape yet. What humanity has done is create a transition from the holocene to whatever epoch will come next, the nature of which is unknown though we can predict some aspects. The idea that this right now is the new geological epoch is absurd hubristic misunderstanding of what a geological epoch is.

    It’s not an epoch any more than the crash that totaled your car is your new car.

    • @blindsight@beehaw.org
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      31 month ago

      I mean, I guess? But regardless of what comes next, we know that humanity is having a global impact on geology, so calling it the anthropocene seems reasonable. Even if we reverse anthropogenic climate change and use science and technology to live in a climate utopia, that’s still man-changed. Or if we cause our own extinction, then we were the cause of the next geological epoch. Regardless, “anthro” works.

    • This article touches on the idea of an event, which aligns with your language around a transition. That seems appropriate to me, e.g. the industrial revolution would be the event that kicked off the next epoch. Considering the profound impact we’ve had on the planet since the industrial revolution, it seems like a reasonable place in time to assert that a new epoch has begun, however. It has clearly started to take shape. We have already done 1.5C of warming, with all signs pointing to much more to come. Biodiversity is already plummeting and will continue to drop. It’s perfectly reasonable to conclude that we’ve created a deviation from the Holocene normals and are simply calling this new thing something else, something undefined but clearly underway and likely to be as disruptive as any epoch change in the past. It’s an observation that we’ve fucked things up, but it’s not surprising that geologists aren’t ready to make the leap to a formal name, especially one randomly invented by a dude in an off the cuff comment and not through the scientific process.

      • Ephera
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        21 month ago

        Many of the geological epochs ended with a mass extinction event like we’re currently seeing. It’s perfectly reasonable to declare the Holocene as the time period from the rise of the humans to their extinction. After we’re gone/unimportant, something else will take over and then that’s a new epoch.

        • This feels like semantics though, of course there is an end accompanying the beginning of the next one. So we’re on track to cause mass extinction (I’m talking biodiversity in general, not human), i.e., the end of the Holocene by your logic, and something new is starting, which some folks are calling the anthropocene. The question is whether the industrial revolution and it’s carbon consequences are enough of a step change to define the end of the Holocene and start of something new. I think what we’ve caused is likely as consequential as exiting the last ice age, which is the start of the Holocene. And the Holocene wasn’t ever defined as the age of humans, so tying the extinction of humans to it seems silly - you seem to be creating an entirely new definition of the Holocene here.

          • Ephera
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            11 month ago

            Well, the way I see it, the current mass extinction cuts off the food chain that we sit on. I doubt, we’re going completely extinct, but I don’t think many humans will still be around in 500 years. In that case, calling the epoch that follows the mass extinction as anything with “human” in the name, isn’t very fitting.

            And I’m not saying that the Holocene is currently defined as being about humans. I’m rather saying if people feel like there should be an epoch declared, in which humans altered geology, then I would declare the Holocene as such.
            It only started 11,700 years ago. Since then, we’ve been dropping tools and treasures onto the ground, cultivated farmlands, built pyramids and castles, dug mines and quarries, dammed off rivers and oceans, and so on.

            But ultimately, I rather think the post-industrialization time frame is a geological event, not an epoch.