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The Validity of the Anthropocene

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Assignment #2: The Validity of the Anthropocene

By: Juan Carlo Basa

Student ID: 1001316239

Geologists have divided time into large segments, which defines the shifts in Earth’s status. Changes in the global conditions suggest that mankind is in a new geological epoch, informally named the Anthropocene. The concept of the Anthropocene, introduced about a decade ago, was to illustrate the perceptible shift in the link between human civilization and the natural environment. It suggests that humans are a global force behind the severe and negative changes to the environment, some of which have left a mark on the geological time scale. The impacts of modern human activity suggest that one should refer to new human-dominated era as the new epoch.

        Human activity on the geological time scale has been recent, yet significant on a global scale. The Anthropocene commenced around the early 1800s, the period when advances in agriculture, production, and technology enabled civilizations to flourish, notably, advances in the manufacturing process. Since the Industrial Revolution, there was a visible increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere mainly due to the accelerating usage on fossil fuels. Before, the exploitation of fuel resources was restricted to mainly wood. The transition resulted in noticeable air contaminations and caused environmental degradation to intensify. Perhaps the most prominent evidence of change is detectable through climate change. Though industrial activities, such as metal production, was common before the 1800s, its impacts where not noticeable.

        Another reason that suggests the validity of the Anthropocene is through the extinction of animal species. Over the past centuries, there has been a loss in biodiversity associated with the irresponsible and exploitative treatment of animals. From the destruction of animal habitats to the spread of invasive species, humans have inadvertently accelerated the rate at which species go extinct. For instance, invasive species, such as zebra mussels, joins a new ecosystem by latching itself under ships. When introduced, it reproduces exponentially and drives out native species by competing for food.

        Furthermore, ever since the human population has reached the billion marks, global population growth rates have increased steeply along with resource consumption. The demand for resources has been greater than ever, especially for western nations. Time is a limited factor, and the constant demand for resources tends overwhelm the rate at which they are replenished. As a result, humans have inadvertently accelerated some of the natural processes. Flooding, for example, occurs naturally, but has become more frequent due to over logging for lumber. Events such as these may cause an increase in soil erosion and changes in the land structure. In contrast with the hunter-gatherer lifestyle in the Holocene, the past epoch, the accumulation of environment depletion was not visible.



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