A geological team has declared the most recent and current Anthropocene Era to have begun some time in the year 1610, when the Old World and the New World moved closer towards each other.
While the past geological eons, such as the Pleistocene and the Holocene, lasted thousands of years in regard to their effects on the earth and its climate, the current one has been termed the Anthropocene, from the root word “anthropos” which means “human being.”
The era is noted to have been influenced by the pollution-producing actions of mankind. The previous era started some 11,500 years ago after the end of the last Ice Age. But this latest addition, which was decided upon by a committee or team of geologists, began in 1610. Nature has published these findings.
And although the date remains to be thoroughly pinpointed, most agree that the 1600s are the exact time when the cross-pollination of cultures took place. Thus, there began the most adventurous undertaking every attempted by a species.
Yet it is only in hindsight that we or the species that comes after us will be able to judge the consequences and side effects of this era which we are going through. The year 1492, when Columbus landed in the Americas, was a watershed since that was the turning point when so many new species of plants and animals got exchanged between different milieus.
Some disagree and say that 1964 is the exact moment in time for the current Anthropocene Era, when a great number of nuclear tests were spreading radioactive waste products on a global scale.
Whatever the case, one thing is certain. The current trend of global warming and biochemical rearrangement of the earth’s sediment and soil, not to mention the atmosphere and oceans, will lead to a radical change sometime soon.
When we look at the past, the dinosaurs once ruled the earth just like man does today. And the obvious question comes to mind that “where are they today?” Well, they have gone the way of 99% of the rest of earth’s species, that is into the cesspool of extinction.
Man, too, if he is not careful and doesn’t start conserving his resources, may end up facing annihilation on a massive scale. The destructive trends of globalization, resource depletion, random pollution, and nuclear fallout may end up making this nascent era the shortest in the history of the planet.
Maybe that is why the term Anthropocene suits the present era and is a well-said word since it leads us back by a linguistic twist to our real function as human beings: creatures that create meaning through language and rely on peace, love and brotherhood to survive via cooperation and symbiosis.
Let’s hope this era will last long enough to allow our evolution as a species from the current greedy, exploitative and warring type to a more pacifist and environmentally-friendly kind.