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  • Spread @4:50AM, 2016-08-05
    Tags: anthropocene, extinction   

    Mass Extinction: The Early Years 

    When did the sixth extinction begin, and who is responsible for it? One way to tackle these questions is to consider the increasingly influential notion of the Anthropocene. The term, first put into broad use by the atmospheric chemist Paul J. Crutzen in 2000, refers to the transformative impact of humanity on the Earth’s atmosphere, an impact so decisive as to mark a new geological epoch. The idea of an Anthropocene Age in which humanity has fundamentally shaped the planet’s environment, making nonsense of traditional ideas about a neat divide between human beings and nature, has crossed over from the relatively rarified world of chemists and geologists to influence humanities scholars such as Dipesh Chakrabarty, who proposes it as a new lens through which to view history. Despite its increasing currency, there is considerable debate about the inaugural moment of the Anthropocene. Crutzen dates it to the late eighteenth century, when the industrial revolution kicked off large-scale emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This dating has become widely accepted despite the fact that it refers to an effect rather than a cause, and thereby obscures key questions of violence and inequality in humanity’s relation to nature.

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  • Titus Toledo @1:49AM, 2014-12-29
    Tags: anthropocene   

    Welcome to the Anthropocene 

    In June 2012, “Welcome to the Anthropocene”—a film about the state of the planet—opened the UN’s Rio+20 summit on sustainable development. The summit was the largest UN meeting to date.

    A 3-minute journey through the last 250 years of our history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the Rio+20 Summit. The film charts the growth of humanity into a global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes.

    “The Anthropocene represents a shift in perspective that goes beyond the political or economic. It is ethical, ontological, even existential. The full implications won’t be clear for many years. We are still denying it or negotiating with it or trying to squeeze it into conventional categories. It will be for our children to fully come to terms with it — and, unfortunately, to suffer for our failure of imagination.”

    Via Grist

     
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