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This week we’re going to join a chat full of scientists, where the current subject is whether or not humanity should be considered to be living in a new geological time! As we know, our planet has been through four different eras: Precambrian Time (4.6 billion to 542 million years ago), Paleozoic (542 million to 250 million years ago), Mesozoic (250 million to 65 million years ago, and the Cenozoic (65 million years ago) up until today. Or is it
Since the classification of these periods is based on the rock layers images we are familiar with from our textbooks, the Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) has been pondering if mankind has meddled enough with the Earth system to the point where the existing rock strata can be differentiated, especially considering our “recent” harmful activities.
What’s extremely interesting about it is the fact that we can no longer consider ourselves simple pawns regarding the earth’s development, we have now become somewhat responsible and capable of having a significant impact on our planet.
So, when did it begin?
Taking into consideration some of the most important marks in human history, this question has been widely debated by everyone trying to perfectly pin it out. Some claim this new Epoch began at the start of the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, when our spree of carbon and methane emissions into the atmosphere started. Another valid point was that the new period was set in motion in 1945, when the first atomic bombs were tested and dropped in Japan, resulting in the spread of radioactive particles that were detected all around the world. Here’s a soft review of the matter, if it sparks your interest. However! In 2016 the Anthropocene Epoch was recognized and separated from the Holocene (previous era), although not officially by the Anthropocene Working Group, which claims it was initiated in 1950 due to the dramatic increase in influential human activity on the environment - the Great Acceleration. Now, they’re working on making it an official term, once they gather all the scientific evidence to support the theory, which they expect will happen soon!
Geologically speaking, the start of it is yet to be defined by a specific boundary between layers of rock. In a broader perspective, we can already observe the large scale of evidence that, in this case, we’re responsible for:
These are just a few examples of how big of a part we play in our ecosystem. It’s now obvious that everything we do on a large scale will have repercussions in the future, so it’s up to us to preserve our home at any costs! Let’s just hope this new era isn’t just filled with negative connotations when our great grandchildren research the side effects of our development as a society!
We’ll see you next week!