The problem of the harmful influence which humans have on nature and on our planet is a very actual one. A new study even proposes that the Anthropocene should be acknowledges as a new geologic era which is marked by man’s imprint.
A team of researchers have published their study in the journal Science and will present it at the International Commission on Stratigraphy. One of the authors of the study, Dr. Colin Waters from the British Geological Survey, explained in the paper that there are entire sets of changes which affect the earth, not just changes in the atmosphere. Such changes include the glaciers, the ice and the ocean. Waters believes that such vital information might not be available to all people and they are not able to understand the scale at which these changes occur. Thus the scientist argues that an official change of the epoch could raise awareness regarding the environmental changes.
Waters also remarked the following:
Human activity is leaving a pervasive and persistent signature on Earth. We are becoming a geological agent in ourselves.”
According to the study the Anthropocene should be defined in terms of industrialization, colonization, movement and disappearance of animal species, invasive species, test of nuclear weapons, the composition of the soil and the atmosphere and the production of new types of metals and polymers.
The one who initiated the research group, geologist Phil Gibbard from the University of Cambridge, claims that formally classifying the Anthopocene as a new geologic era could be effective as a cultural concept rather than a scientific one. Gibbard explained that the data provided by science is fully recognized, but there remains the question of usefulness and philosophy.
The beginning of the Anthropocene means the end of the Holocene, which is believed to have begun at the end of the Ice Age, 11.700 ago. The Holocene epoch was characterized by the development of human settlements and improvement in agriculture. The term “Anthropocene” was introduced in 2000.
The authors of the study wrote that the beginning of this age could be the mid-20th century, when the atomic age started with the bomb testing of 1945, in New Mexico, United States. Afterwards farming, mining and the use of manmade materials like plastics and concrete all had a geological impact. Other experts argue that the Anthropocene started in the 18th century, along with the Industrial Revolution in Europe.
Image source: sciencedaily.com