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The Anthropocene Epoch

I welcome you to what can be called the Anthropocene Epoch. This is a time of global warming and human-induced climate change. The temperature of the planet is rising, ice in the Arctic is melting, sea level is rising and the weather is turning wild.
A giant human towers over other species (elephant, giraffe, zebra, crocodile, panda, rhinoceros). The backdrop shows factories, a city and a waterfall.

I welcome you to what can be called the Anthropocene Epoch. This is a time of global warming and human-induced climate change. The temperature of the planet is rising, ice in the Arctic is melting, sea level is rising and the weather is turning wild.

Ahead of us, we are spiraling towards a sixth mass extinction. Thousands of animal species have been lost during the last 100 years. These animals have important roles in their ecosystems. They form life-support systems for humans, other animals and the wider environment.

The End of the Holocene Epoch

Seemingly our planet is leaving the Holocene Epoch. This epoch has lasted for some 11700 years from the end of the last glaciation. The Holocene has been characterized by a stable climate with only subtle variations. These variations define its subdivisions: The Preboreal, Boreal, Atlantic, Subboreal and Subatlantic Ages. Each of these ages has supported different ways of life in different parts of the globe. In some places and times, humans have been hunter gatherers. In other places and times, humans have been farmers (raising livestock, clearing land or harvesting timber).

The stability of the Holocene Epoch has set the stage for industrialism and colonialism in different places around the globe. There have been cultural, societal and scientific developments. However, these changes have come at a cost due to unsustainable production, which in turn has caused massive resource extraction and pollution.

A Human-Centric Problem

It can be argued that the present planetary predicament is connected to a series of ideational underpinnings such as anthropocentrism. This means putting human needs in the centre – viewing the environment as a means towards the wellbeing of some humans – particularly those in the richer part of the planet.

This article draws on the following works:

Anthropocene Working Group. 2019. Retrieved from http://quaternary.stratigraphy.org/working-groups/anthropocene/

Crutzen, P. J. 2002. Geology of mankind. Nature, 415(January), 23. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27460-7_10

Crutzen, P. J., & Stoermer, E. F. 2000. The “Anthropocene”. IGBP Global Change Newsletter, 41, 17– 18.

Ghosh, A. 2017. The great derangement: Climate change and the unthinkable (176 pp.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Haraway, D. 2015. Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making kin. Environmental Humanities, 6, 159– 165. https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-3615934

J. Zalasiewicz, C. N. Waters, M. Williams, & C. Summerhayes (Eds.). 2019. The Anthropocene as a geological time unit: A guide to the scientific evidence and current debate (361 pp.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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