Hey guys! The first few posts are going to feature the basics, as promised. In this post, I want to touch on some basic ideas that are related to the environment. So, let’s get right into this!
Right now, the world has entered what most scientists refer to as the Age of the Anthropocene. It’s a real thing, I swear.
adjective1. relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment
The Anthropocene comes from the word anthropogenic which I promise is a real word. It essentially means “-from human activity.” Here it is in a sentence:
“Oh man, all this carbon dioxide is anthropogenic!” which loosely translates into “Oh man, all this carbon dioxide is from human activity!”
See? Quick and easy, and now you sound at least 30% smarter.
Anyway, it’s a term that is becoming more widely used as we have recently crossed from the Holocene to the Anthropocene. Geological eras are how we classify the Earth’s lifespan. The Holocene was pretty much the last 10,000 years to now, an epoch (pronounced epic. because I used to say ee-potch) that features the beginning of human activity, certain plant and animal species, things like that. Human activity in the past does not necessarily mean what it is today. Today, we would discuss human activity as things like creating bigger cities, new technology of the future, blah blah blah.
Human activity 10,000 years ago would be things like the decision to drop the nomadic lifestyle of moving place to place (hunter-gatherers) to become farmers and begin domesticating plants and animals. This would be the start of humanity becoming the species with the heaviest impact on the environment. The discovery of fire in efforts to keep warm was the start of negative emissions, although at that time the rise in gases in the atmosphere was imperceptible.
But, we clearly didn’t just stop there. Anthropogenic emissions has increased exponentially as we have progressed. In order to get further, we have ignored the ill side effects. Progress has not slowed but right now, we’ve pumped the atmosphere to the brim with greenhouse gases; we’ve polluted our oceans with garbage and near-constant oil spills; and we ignore the clear signs of climate change like the early spring we adore. Despite what our new, totally-qualified-and-not-random EPA director Scott Pruitt says, we are the cause of these issues and it’s time we took responsibility for it. Hell, we’ve affected the environment so much that we are legitimately in a NEW GEOLOGICAL ERA named just for us and our bullshit*.
*bullshit and other droppings are leading emitters of toxic gases, fyi.*
Anyway, our activities have lead to huge changes in climate, land and water quality, animal extinctions, etc. And it will be through anthropogenic means that we clean up after ourselves.
Simply put, our goal cannot be reversed. It’s way, way, WAY too late for that. There is no going back to the world before, or the world that could have been had we had our thinking caps on. No, our goal now is sustainability; a complex term I’ll get into in the next post. But it is essentially holding on- holding on to the world we still have, holding on to the resources we have, in efforts to ensure that there will be a world to live on tomorrow.