Anthropocene

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The Anthropocene Epoch is an unofficial unit of geologic time, used to describe the most recent period in Earth’s history when human activity started to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems. [1]

Scientists arguing for the recognition of this new geologic unit of time, argue that we have significantly altered the Earth through human activity and we have left the previous geologic era or epoch, called ‘The Holocene’.  These changes caused by human impacts include global warming, habitat loss, changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, oceans and soil, and animal extinctions. [2]

The following is a statement by authors from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, who are part of the movement to recognise the Anthropocene:

We have entered the Anthropocene, a new era where humans shape every aspect of the biosphere. This means humans now rival natural forces in shaping the functioning, processes, and dynamics of the Earth system. The implications of living in the Anthropocene also means new evolutionary processes, new aspects of control, new levels of connectivities, and new types of risks. This will have broad implications for the understanding and navigation of global resilience and sustainability. Trade, financialization, human migration, urbanization, technological development and communication are increasingly connecting people and life-support systems in ever more distant geographic locations. The speed, magnitude and extent at which these interconnectivities play out is unprecedented and profoundly complex. The implications of this human-driven transformation of Earth’s biosphere has bearings on global biodiversity, spread of species, ecosystem functioning, water cycles, and climate. [3]

References:

[1] https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/anthropocene/

[2] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/what-is-the-anthropocene-and-why-does-it-matter

[3] Stockholm Resilience Centre, https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-themes/anthropocene-dynamics.html