What hell is Anthropocene era?

fisheye lens aerial photo of Manhattan

Fisheye lens aerial photo of Manhattan (as used in Geoscientist)

I used this term, somewhat carelessly, in a recent post. However, if anyone is in any doubt as to what I meant, this article in this month’s Geoscientist magazine, by award-winning geologist Emlyn Koster, is a very good ‘pump-primer’ on the subject. I was particularly struck by a prophecy made in 1948, by the late Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), to the effect that concern for our environment would come of age once “a photograph of the Earth taken from [space] is available“… and guess what; he was right! For the avoidance of any doubt, the Anthropocene is a label given to the period of time over which human activity has had what will be a lasting impact on the planet. Whether you define that as being 200 years since we started burning fossilised carbon at ever-more unsustainable rates, or as 12,000 years since we invented deforestation and agriculture, the point is that you must accept that we are having a lasting impact on the planet, the effects of which will take tens if not hundreds of thousands of years to be undone.
Apollo 8 Earthrise photo (1968)

The banner image on my old Earthy Issues blog (adapted from Apollo 8 Earthrise photo in 1968).


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Anthropocene, Climate Science, Environment, Limits to Growth and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What hell is Anthropocene era?

  1. pendantry says:

    ‘What hell is Anthropocene era?’ Or ‘What the hell is the Anthropocene era?’ Does it matter? And if it matters, does it matter that it matters?


  2. weatherdem says:

    I read this term for the first time earlier this summer and have seen it crop up consistently since. I think it adequately describes our activities over the past 12,000 years, but especially the past 200.


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