Sunday, February 24, 2013


January's Smithsonian magazine has an article in it's "Time" series whether we should declare a new geologic era and name it after ourselves. The thinking is, human beings have changed the planet enough to warrant re-conceiving how we describe the eras of the earth.

A stratigrapher at SUNY, Whitney Austin, thinks it's ill-defined and "more about pop culture than hard science." I not only concur, I'll go him one better.  Note paragraph six of the article:
Some Anthropocene proponents concede that difficulty. But don’t get bogged down in the mud, they say, just stipulate a date and move on. Will Steffen, who heads Australia National University’s Climate Change Institute and has written articles with Crutzen, recommends starting the epoch with the advent of the industrial revolution in the early 1800s or with the atomic age in the 1950s. Either way, he says, the new name sends a message: “[It] will be another strong reminder to the general public that we are now having undeniable impacts on the environment at the scale of the planet as a whole, so much so that a new geological epoch has begun.”
"...sends a message"..."general public"..."undeniable"...

I am not seeing how this differs from The science is plastic. What's important is that people are taught to agree with our viewpoint.


Sam L. said...

They KNOWS what's best for us, and gives it to us, regardless.

james said...

I suggest we define the "Jamesescene" that started in 1955.