The results of an extensive research conducted by two dozen scientists suggest that Earth entered a new geological epoch dubbed the Anthropocene.
Unambiguously, it is human civilization that is the driving force behind the establishment of the new geological epoch. Unlike previous geological epochs driven by natural forces, the Anthropocene epoch has been forced into existence by us. Results of human activity are most evident starting in the second half of the 20th century.
Rampant development activities disregarding the environment and our planet overall have driven carbon emissions up at unprecedented levels. Compared to the past 800,000 years, carbon emissions levels in the atmosphere are rising 100 times more rapidly.
We produce more than we need in an unsustainable fashion. According to the research findings, simple things such as cement, plastic or aluminium are produced in such high quantities yearly that we could literally transform the whole planet. There is now sufficient cement on the globe to cover each square meter with one kilogram of cement. There is so much plastic produced yearly that we could wrap the planet altogether. As for aluminium, the research team calculated that with the yearly output, the entire surface of Australia could be blanketed without a square inch being missed.
All these activities and more are telling of the effects on the sediments on planet Earth. Earth entered a new geological epoch dubbed the Anthropocene, and on fair grounds. Human civilization’s role is crucial in the yet unofficial geological epoch.
The impact of our actions is leaving deep marks on the sediments and geological layers of our planet. Nuclear fallout and mining are displacing 57 billion tonnes of material each year. That is roughly three times more than our planet’s rivers are carrying away.
Previous Holocene geological era which began 11,700 years back was brought about by natural processes. At the same time, the Pleistocene geological epoch was also defined by natural processes. The Anthropocene geological epoch is the first defined by human actions. Geological layers and the world’s sediments are witnesses of the varying phenomenons bearing effects.
Our actions have a global impact. Over half of the globe’s surface is put to our use. Civilization brought about materials and needs which are often in conflict with a sustainable, healthy environment.
Our atmosphere is ridden with greenhouse gases, the oceans are polluted and the effects are visible and studied, while climate change is an undisputable reality. Overall, technological advancement, economic growth and population growth are driving the new Anthropocene geological epoch.
The results of the extensive research, already published in the scientific journal Science will also be presented to the International Commission on Stratigraphy. The commission may validate or invalidate the formal recognition of the Anthropocene geological epoch.
Photo Credits: Pixabay