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View Diary: We are standing at the cusp of the Holocene and the Anthropocene Epochs (65 comments)

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  •  As a geologist I second that (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annominous, Be Skeptical, dzog, Yo Bubba

    Attempting to breathlessly name a "new" epoch, partly to make a political point about our affect on the Earth, is premature, to say the least.

    Let future geologists, if any exist, look back on this period, consider the scale, magnitude, persistence, and importance of its anthropogenic changes, and make an informed decision based on facts of what has happened, not speculation of what may happen (no matter how certain some may be of what they consider to be inevitable developments).

    •  Now that we get Earthquakes regularly because (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fiona West

      of injection wells, it sure seems like we have entered into a new Geological age where I live.

      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

      by GreenMother on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:17:34 AM PST

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      •  Such earthquakes are (0+ / 0-)

        a vanishingly temporary phenomenon on the geologic time scale.  

        When active injection stops, they will stop.  

        In geologic time, such events wouldn't even be measurable.

        I understand that it may seem significant to you.  But placed in geologic time, it barely exists.

        •  When we replace the ceiling tiles in my dad's (0+ / 0-)

          house and our insurance rates take another hike up, because quakes are new to this area in this form. Then it's very significant to anyone who owns a structure and buys insurance and is responsible for upkeep.

          Don't downplay this just because I won't be alive long enough to measure a scale on a dinosaurs butt. This means something now in this culture and in this financial system.

          We already deal with high rates because of tornadoes and hail. That was our thing. Quakes in California and Tornadoes in Tornado alley.

          Now it's just crazy flung poo every which way, of all kinds, and someone's making money off of it, but it sure as hell isn't me.

          Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

          by GreenMother on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 06:49:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  please allow rhetorical effect (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nirbama

      to have its due

      •  Right. (0+ / 0-)

        But, as you revel in your rhetorical effect, please contemplate any discomfort you may feel when the right politicizes science by emphasizing minor points having no real significance.

        Is it your position that we should pervert science to suite ideological goals?

    •  Assuming there will be a future where advanced (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SuWho

      forms and methods of education produce geologists.

      And if it turns out there won't be, wouldn't that be enough proof of having already entered a new geologic epoch?



      "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

      - Louis Brandies

      by Pescadero Bill on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:33:34 AM PST

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    •  The name is not at all premature, though it may be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nirbama

      only a "working name," like the title an author gives a work in progress.  You said:

      Attempting to breathlessly name a "new" epoch, partly to make a political point about our affect on the Earth, is premature, to say the least.
      The meaning communicated by "Anthropocene" goes far beyond anything that can be called "political," though we hope desperately that the awareness in encodes will influence politics.

      Human beings have many levels of "knowing," ranging from factually correct but superficial awareness to profound knowing that involves intellect, emotion, and memory, taps into instinct, and mobilizes the will.

      Here in the early phases of the Anthropocene, this working title is just one among many efforts to bring the human species to full conscious awareness that can generate intelligent, effective action.  It's a mirror held up to anyone who encounters it, a reflection of the enormity of what the human species is now doing without more than sporadically and partially acknowledging it.

      How we talk shapes what we know, what we feel, and what we do.

      Future geologist (if any) may indeed choose a different name, more useful from their perspective.  And that's great. Good for them.  But this name is useful now.  And it's true.  It's inarguably true.  We are now in the early stages of an era of the Earth that is being profoundly shaped by humanity to a degree that the Earth never has been before.  We're reshaping the atmosphere, the oceans, the boundaries of the continents.  We're initiating a new mass extinction.  We're shaping this era of the Earth profoundly through our human combination of knowledge, skill, organization, chaos, blind instinctive reactions, delusion, greed, generosity, powerlust -- the whole package.  Who and what we are.

      That's the truth.

      And we need to talk about it that way.

      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:12:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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