Tuesday, June 18, 2024

'The debate over the Anthropocene, explained' by Vox and SciShow

I concluded Animalogic's 'Crocodiles: Survivors of the Last Extinction' for World Crocodile Day by telling my readers, "This blog is likely to pass its page view goal for June before I post the next entry, so look for something evergreen tomorrow. Stay tuned." As i predicted, the blog passed its June page view goal early yesterday afternoon, so I'm shifting from current events to topics that will still be good to share next month. With that in mind, I'm sharing The debate over the Anthropocene, explained by Vox.

Humans have changed the planet. Should that go on the geologic calendar?
The word “Anthropocene” has gained cultural resonance in recent years, as it’s become clearer that humans have made an indelible — and destructive — impact on our planet. But it’s also a term with a specific technical meaning: an epoch, or geologic unit of time, named for humans.

In 2009, geologists first started investigating whether the Anthropocene should be formally recognized as part of the way we record geologic time. This video explains what happened next: how a team of scientists looked for the evidence to make their case, and what it means to consider human time as part of the Earth’s 4.6 billion-year history.

Note: The title of this video has been updated.
Previous title: Should humans get their own geologic era?
The link I first embedded in "a possible sixth mass extinction" yesterday was to Holocene extinction or Anthropocene extinction on Wikipedia, which reminded me that I'd been sitting on this video for the past month. Also, I'm in the middle of teaching about geologic time, so this video is right on topic. I might even show it to my students today.

I won't show SciShow's The Human Era Has an Official Start. It’s a Lake in Canada to my students because it jumped the gun on the official decision to not recognize the Anthropocene. It still has scientific value, explaining the lake's chemistry, which Vox ignored.

Recently, a group of scientists have declared that the start of the Anthropocene, the time of outsize human influence on Earth, to be Crawford Lake in Canada. But how can a time be a place? We'll explain, and maybe grab some maple syrup.
A lot happened in the nearly six months between this video and Vox's. There will not be an officially recognized Anthropocene any time soon. That doesn't mean that the concept will disappear; it has too much cultural resonance and usefulness, even if the geologists have rejected it — for now.

That's a wrap for today's evergreen entry. Stay tuned for a series of holiday posts, Juneteenth, American Eagle Day, National Seashell Day, the Summer Solstice, World Giraffe Day, World Rainforest Day, Detroit-Style Pizza Day, and Souther. I have the rest of my blogging week already cut out for me!

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