When I was growing up, the idea that human activity could have enough of an impact on the planet to require the declaration of a new geological epoch would have seemed mad. It still seems slightly nuts; the globe and its processes remain huge and unfathomable. But some earth scientists have taken their case that we've entered a new epoch to an Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, the academic body that decides such things. According to the U.K. Guardian:
The same geologists are suggesting that we need to learn to manage the environment so as not to transgress "planetary boundaries" -- a set of conditions that existed in the Holocene that made possible the development of our ever-so-powerful, yet fragile, civilization.
The Economist describes the project these scientists have in mind succinctly:
You don't have to rely on my feeble word for this insight. Here's the Executive Director of the Australian National University's Climate Change Institute, Professor Will Steffen, explaining these matters in 18 highly intelligible minutes. This one is well worth your time.
Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- reminders of that inconvenient truth.