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Inventing the Present: Historical Roots of the Anthropocene

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Abstract

In 1833, Charles Lyell proposed that the current post-glacial geological epoch be termed Recent. In the late 1860s, Paul Gervais suggested Holocene as a more appropriate name for the same epoch. In 2000, Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer jointly proposed that a new epoch beginning in the late eighteenth century should be named Anthropocene to connote that the human-determined geological signature is now, and for the foreseeable future will be, the predominant physical force shaping the Earth. Such a conclusion by geoscientists will not, and perhaps should not, pass unnoticed by politicians, environmentalists and other academic disciplines. Based upon a review of the early debates over the role of a deity in geological causation, the power of classification and nomenclature, and distinctions between organic and inorganic in geological processes, this paper traces the historical transition from Recent to Holocene to Anthropocene and concludes that the conceptual space for creating the modern Anthropocene was carved during the nineteenth-century foundation of geology.

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... The 11,800-years-old Holocene epoch (between Pleistocene and the present Anthropocene) comprises a vast terrestrial and marine sedimentary cover of the earth. The geologic and stratigraphic records divulge the history of human domination and the recent interglacial phase of the Quaternary (Lyell, 1833;Davis, 2011;Barnosky, 2013;Head, 2017;Fairbridge et al., 2018). Pleistocene geochronology and stratigraphy are often beyond the record. ...
... The Hirakud dam constructed for providing flushing flood of 2830 cumec in Kuakhai branch (Mohapatra, 2015;Mishra and Jena, 2017). The peak flood statistics of 166 years (1855-2020) reveals that the south Mahanadi basin had undergone dry spells toward second half of both 19th and 20th century, but strong wet spells were prevailed during 1911-1947 and 2001-2014, with active monsoon conditions (Table 19.2). -20 1867, 1869, 1886, 1887, 1906, 1956, 1964, 1979, 1981, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1999, 200218 Medium 20-34 1856, 1862, 1863, 1871, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1880, 1881, 1884, 1885, 1891, 1893, 1894, 1900, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1921, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1948, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1958-1963, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971-1978, 1981, 1983-1986, 1990, 1991, 1993-1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2007, 201179 High 34-40 1866, 1874, 1879, 1895, 1911, 1914, 1919, 1925, 1934, 1939, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1967, 1980, 1992, 2001, 2006, 201120 Very high >40 1831, 1855, 1872, 1892, 1896, 1920, 1926, 1929, 1933, 1937, 1940, 1982 12 Very low <17 Gap years not mentioned above 35 ...
... The Hirakud dam constructed for providing flushing flood of 2830 cumec in Kuakhai branch (Mohapatra, 2015;Mishra and Jena, 2017). The peak flood statistics of 166 years (1855-2020) reveals that the south Mahanadi basin had undergone dry spells toward second half of both 19th and 20th century, but strong wet spells were prevailed during 1911-1947 and 2001-2014, with active monsoon conditions (Table 19.2). -20 1867, 1869, 1886, 1887, 1906, 1956, 1964, 1979, 1981, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1999, 200218 Medium 20-34 1856, 1862, 1863, 1871, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1880, 1881, 1884, 1885, 1891, 1893, 1894, 1900, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1921, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1948, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1958-1963, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971-1978, 1981, 1983-1986, 1990, 1991, 1993-1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2007, 201179 High 34-40 1866, 1874, 1879, 1895, 1911, 1914, 1919, 1925, 1934, 1939, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1967, 1980, 1992, 2001, 2006, 201120 Very high >40 1831, 1855, 1872, 1892, 1896, 1920, 1926, 1929, 1933, 1937, 1940, 1982 12 Very low <17 Gap years not mentioned above 35 ...
Chapter
The imprints of Holocene climate and environmental changes in the South Mahanadi Delta and the Chilika lagoon, Odisha, India— An overview
... Indeed, the 'Anthropocene' represents that state toward which the Earth is transitioning due to human actions. This transition is signaled by overstepping natural 'planetary boundaries' -a central concept promoted by the authors to "define the safe operating space for humanity with respect to the Earth system" 138 Davis (2011) observes that "[a]t its December 2008 Fall meeting in San Francisco, California, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) included nine sessions [emphasis added] with Anthropocene in the title, including 'Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene' and 'Stages Anthropocene: assessing the human impact on the Earth system'" (p. 78). ...
... Figure 3.10) as primary markers for defining the base of 303 This does not mean that humans were not an object of geological discussion, which they were. See Davis (2011). 304 With the exception of those instances of geological reflexivity briefly discussed in section 1.2.4. ...
... Foster (2018) For a interesting insight on the philosophy of geological nomenclature, see Davis (2011). 338 Bonneuil's observation seems to confuse defining (in stratigraphic terms; see Murphy & Salvador, 2000, p. 235) geological units with naming them. ...
Thesis
The present doctoral dissertation explores the birth and epistemology of the Anthropocene Hypothesis - that is, the 'stratigraphic' or 'geological' variant of the broader 'Anthropocene' concept. A fundamental target of the research is separating conceptually between the 'Anthropocene' as a boundary object - borrowed, re-shaped, and re-adapted by humanities, social sciences, and extra-academic domains - and the Anthropocene Hypothesis as the formulation of the 'Anthropocene' into stratigraphic grounds. A second related target is delineating an epistemology (i.e., the fundamental knowledge statements and epistemic context) of the Anthropocene Hypothesis based on its birth, its empirical body, its theoretical virtues, and the debates surrounding it. The research locates at the intersection of History and Philosophy of Science, Anthropocene Studies, and Interdisciplinary Research.
... (2) Fosil yakıtların kullanılmasının yaygınlaşması ve özellikle 18.yüzyıl sonlarında gerçekleşen sanayi devrimi ile artarak tetiklenmiş etkilerin, gözlenir bir şekilde doğa üzerindeki etkisinin ortaya çıkmasıyla birlikte son 200 -500 yıl içinde başlamış olmalıdır (Crutzen ve Stoermer, 2000;Crutzen, 2002;Davis, 2011;Fischer-Kowalski vd. 2014). ...
... The Anthropocene had taken places approximately 3000 to 8000 years ago as a result of early human impacts such as increase of inefficient land use and uncontrolled agricultural activities (Ruddiman, 2003;Certini & Scalenghe, 2011;Ellis, 2011;Wilkinson et al, 2014). However, others claimed that the initiation should had beeen started between 200 to 500 years ago with the emergence of the observed effects of human race impact into the nature such as industrialization and the use of fossil fuels (Crutzen & Stoermer, 2000;Crutzen, 2002;Davis, 2011;Fischer-Kowalski et al. 2014). And the last one is; it should be in hand in the mid-20th century with global economic growth and associated environmental change, following the end of World War II (Steffen et al. 2007;Wolfe et al. 2014;Zalasiewicz et al. 2015). ...
... Consequently, these stunning levels were found for Izmit core 250 to 330 years at 40 -45 cm, Sürmene and Hopa cores close to each other 330 to 530 years at 20 -25 cm from the sediment water interface into the deeper part of the cores. As a result we believe that these calculated geological ages supported the beginning of Anthropocene which has been forming within the time period between 200 to 500 years ago which is presented with a theory of Crutzen and Stoermer (2000), Crutzen (2002); Davis (2011) andFisher-Kowalski et al. (2014). As a matter of course, the initiation of the Anthropocene is still unclear and should be discussed for a while in the scientific arena of geology. ...
Article
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With each passing day, industrialization, the use of fossil fuels, uncontrolled agriculture and similar human activities are increasing. As a results of these activities, the nature is impacted by a number of changes and anthropogenic pollution. In this study, drilling core samples from the Izmit Bay (IZC-01) in the Sea of Marmara, Surmene (SC-01) and Hopa (HC-01) coasts in the Black Sea have been investigated with lithological, sedimentological, paleontological and geochemical perspectives. The concentrations of heavy metals as Ba, As, Pb, Cd, Cr, Ni, Ti and Zn were considered from total of 45 samples which are covering 15 samples from each three cores. PLI (Pollution load index) values are calculated by using the results of As, Ba, Pb, Cr, Ni, and Zn elements, stand out 3.255 for the Gulf of Izmit, 2,195 and 1,706 for Surmene and Hopa in respectively. PLI values indicate accepted level of pollution above for the Gulf of Izmit and despite being dirty Sürmene and Hopa relatively less polluted. In addition, EF values indicate a significant enrichment of the As, Ni and Cr and moderate enrichment of Pb and Zn elements at Izmit Gulf. In locations Hopa and Sürmene; As, Ba and Cr elements showing insufficient enrichment and Ni, Pb and Zn was observed a significant enrichment. Besides, pollution related gypsum crystallization is also remarkable for Maramara core. The abundance and diversity of paleontological records in the cores are also compatible in line with the decreasing and increasing rate of pollution. Towards the deepest part of the all 3 cores, a reduction in the concentrations of elements such as Pb, Zn, Cr and As is seen. Radiocarbon dates obtained from the shells of these reduction levels are mesured in Sürmene 420±55 (BP) and Hopa 500±50 (BP). In addition, results of the other previous studies based on sedimentation rate and these ages are compatible. These specified age ranges were compared with opinions in the literature which are related to the beginning of Anthropocene and because of the overlaping, these clearly observed levels have been interpreted as the limit of the possible Anthropocene time.
... (2) Fosil yakıtların kullanılmasının yaygınlaşması ve özellikle 18.yüzyıl sonlarında gerçekleşen sanayi devrimi ile artarak tetiklenmiş etkilerin, gözlenir bir şekilde doğa üzerindeki etkisinin ortaya çıkmasıyla birlikte son 200 -500 yıl içinde başlamış olmalıdır (Crutzen ve Stoermer, 2000;Crutzen, 2002;Davis, 2011;Fischer-Kowalski vd. 2014). ...
... The Anthropocene had taken places approximately 3000 to 8000 years ago as a result of early human impacts such as increase of inefficient land use and uncontrolled agricultural activities (Ruddiman, 2003;Certini & Scalenghe, 2011;Ellis, 2011;Wilkinson et al, 2014). However, others claimed that the initiation should had beeen started between 200 to 500 years ago with the emergence of the observed effects of human race impact into the nature such as industrialization and the use of fossil fuels (Crutzen & Stoermer, 2000;Crutzen, 2002;Davis, 2011;Fischer-Kowalski et al. 2014). And the last one is; it should be in hand in the mid-20th century with global economic growth and associated environmental change, following the end of World War II (Steffen et al. 2007;Wolfe et al. 2014;Zalasiewicz et al. 2015). ...
... Consequently, these stunning levels were found for Izmit core 250 to 330 years at 40 -45 cm, Sürmene and Hopa cores close to each other 330 to 530 years at 20 -25 cm from the sediment water interface into the deeper part of the cores. As a result we believe that these calculated geological ages supported the beginning of Anthropocene which has been forming within the time period between 200 to 500 years ago which is presented with a theory of Crutzen and Stoermer (2000), Crutzen (2002); Davis (2011) andFisher-Kowalski et al. (2014). As a matter of course, the initiation of the Anthropocene is still unclear and should be discussed for a while in the scientific arena of geology. ...
... While these issues -noise, conventional understandings and methods -confront science across the board, they have been particularly pitched vis-à-vis the short-timescale geosciences. Below all of that is a profound epistemological constraint that explains the delayed recognition of humans as a driving force in the Earth System and the consequent identification of the Anthropocene: for 200 years, if not more, natural scientists have thought of humans as separate from the natural system (Davis, 2011;Vining et al., 2008). This axiom informed traditional geology so profoundly that all conventional understandings, methods, and research questions derived from it. ...
... If stratigraphy is going to adhere to its strict protocols for defining geological ages, then the Anthropocene should not, for all of the reasons discussed here, be designated an official geologic period. As Davis (2011) states, 'Nomenclature decisions […] are an expression first of power and then, reflexively, one of responsibility as well'. The Anthropocene's definition will have power well beyond stratigraphy, as it will in result in diagnosing responsibility. ...
Article
The Anthropocene, generally defined, is the time when human activities have a significant impact on the Earth System. However, the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences have different understandings of how and when human activities affected the Earth System. Humanities and social science scholars tend to approach the Anthropocene from a wide range of moral-political concerns including differential responsibility for the change in the Earth System and social implications going forward. Geologists, on the other hand, see their work as uninfluenced by such considerations, instead concerning themselves with empirical data that might point to a ‘golden spike’ in the geologic record – the spike indicating a change in the Earth System. Thus, the natural sciences and the humanities/social sciences are incongruent in two important ways: (1) different motivations for establishing a new geologic era, and (2) different parameters for identifying it.
... Interestingly, it was Robert V (Bob) Davis Jr, an experienced senior-level US government advisor with degrees in Political Science, Public Administration, History, and Science and Technology in Society, who recently highlighted the needs of geological prognosis. Davis (2011) noted: 'Nineteenth-century geologists were concerned with using the then-current geological state of affairs to understand the Earth's past, and acknowledged that an improved understanding of the past could provide clues to the forces presently at work, but projections into the future were largely absent'. ...
... As an extension of the three-dimensional geologic system at various scales, the prognosis of geological processes means more or less their extrapolation to the near future, which raised a change of paradigm in geology. Interestingly, this idea was accentuated by Robert V (Bob) Davis, who noted (Davis, 2011): 'While modern geologists still seek to know the present to understand the past, the notion of Anthropocene implies knowing the present to predict the future. And it is predicting that in the future, retrospective will show the present as having been geologically shaped by man'. ...
Article
Full-text available
The term anthropogeology was coined in 1959 by the Austrian geologist Heinrich Häusler. It was taken up by the Swiss geologist Heinrich Jäckli in 1972, and independently introduced again by the German geologist Rudolf Hohl in 1974. Their concept aimed at mitigating humankind’s geotechnical and ecological impact in the dimension of endogenic and exogenic geologic processes. In that context anthropogeology was defined as the scientific discipline of applied geology integrating sectors of geosciences, geography, juridical, political and economic sciences as well as sectors of engineering sciences. In 1979 the German geologist Werner Kasig newly defined anthropogeology as human dependency on geologic conditions, in particular focusing on building stone, aggregates, groundwater and mineral resources. The severe problems of environmental pollution since the 1980s and the political relevance of environmental protection led to the initiation of the discipline ‘environmental geosciences’, which – in contrast to anthropogeology – was and is taught at universities worldwide.
... This paper presents a single case study of Anthropocene landscape dynamics from southeastern Kazakhstan showcasing the co-evolution of Bronze and Iron Age agro-pastoral landscapes across a vertical gradient of alluvial fan formations. The concept of the "Anthropocene" derives from recent consensus among earth scientists that Earth-System dynamics have been become inordinately affected by human activities over time (Crutzen, 2006;Crutzen and Steffen, 2003;Davis, 2011;Gale and Hoare, 2012;Lewis and Maslin, 2015;Steffen et al., 2011Steffen et al., , 2007Zalasiewicz et al., 2011Zalasiewicz et al., , 2010Zalasiewicz et al., , 2008. Although a more recent onset of the Anthropocene is espoused by some (e.g., Crutzen and Steffen, 2003) archaeologists have argued for earlier beginnings (Foley et al., 2013;Smith and Zeder, 2013), and we take this latter position as well. ...
Article
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How can archaeologists contribute to tracing the evolutionary dynamics of the coupled human-natural systems that characterize the Anthropocene? We present a Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) framework to integrate models of human and natural landscape formation processes in the mid to late Holocene on the Talgar alluvial fan on the north slope of the Tian Shan Mountains in the area known as "Semirech'ye" ("Seven Rivers"). We compare our model to the physical evidence from sediment profiles and the archaeological record of subsistence and settlement over the Holocene. The resulting coupled model situates "niche construction theory" and the idea of "transported landscapes" within the SES perspective to focus on how couplings and feedbacks between humans and biophysical processes create or limit opportunities for different modes of subsistence over time, especially during periods of expansion and colonization of new territories. In the Talgar region, we hypothesize that initial, low-level human manipulations of surface water flow across an alluvial fan coupled with aeolian and fluvial sediment dynamics in a series of positive feedbacks to increase the possibilities for agricultural production over time. The human niche in Talgar therefore became increasingly sedentary and agricultural in emphasis compared to niches constructed in other parts of Central Eurasia.
... This event had deep roots e Fischer-Kowalski et al. (2014) identify a key historical threshold in the energy metabolism of humans (from biomass to fossil fuels) starting at ca 1500 CE e and a complex trajectory (e.g. Davis, 2011). Once humans began adding fossil fuels into the global ecosystem, they increased its carrying capacity for large-bodied animals (notably humanity) by an order of magnitude (Barnosky, 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
We evaluate the boundary of the Anthropocene geological time interval as an epoch, since it is useful to have a consistent temporal definition for this increasingly used unit, whether the presently informal term is eventually formalized or not. Of the three main levels suggested e an ‘early Anthropocene’ level some thousands of years ago; the beginning of the Industrial Revolution at ~1800 CE (Common Era); and the ‘Great Acceleration’ of the mid-twentieth century e current evidence suggests that the last of these has the most pronounced and globally synchronous signal. A boundary at this time need not have a Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP or ‘golden spike’) but can be defined by a Global Standard Stratigraphic Age (GSSA), i.e. a point in time of the human calendar. We propose an appropriate boundary level here to be the time of the world's first nuclear bomb explosion, on July 16th 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico; additional bombs were detonated at the average rate of one every 9.6 days until 1988 with attendant worldwide fallout easily identifiable in the chemostratigraphic record. Hence, Anthropocene deposits would be those that may include the globally distributed primary artificial radionuclide signal, while also being recognized using a wide range of other stratigraphic criteria. This suggestion for the HoloceneeAnthropocene boundary may ultimately be superseded, as the Anthro- pocene is only in its early phases, but it should remain practical and effective for use by at least the current generation of scientists.
... This event had deep roots e Fischer-Kowalski et al. (2014) identify a key historical threshold in the energy metabolism of humans (from biomass to fossil fuels) starting at ca 1500 CE e and a complex trajectory (e.g. Davis, 2011). Once humans began adding fossil fuels into the global ecosystem, they increased its carrying capacity for large-bodied animals (notably humanity) by an order of magnitude (Barnosky, 2008). ...
Article
We evaluate the boundary of the Anthropocene geological time interval as an epoch, since it is useful to have a consistent temporal definition for this increasingly used unit, whether the presently informal term is eventually formalized or not. Of the three main levels suggested e an ‘early Anthropocene’ level some thousands of years ago; the beginning of the Industrial Revolution at ~1800 CE (Common Era); and the ‘Great Acceleration’ of the mid-twentieth century e current evidence suggests that the last of these has the most pronounced and globally synchronous signal. A boundary at this time need not have a Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP or ‘golden spike’) but can be defined by a Global Standard Stratigraphic Age (GSSA), i.e. a point in time of the human calendar. We propose an appropriate boundary level here to be the time of the world's first nuclear bomb explosion, on July 16th 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico; additional bombs were detonated at the average rate of one every 9.6 days until 1988 with attendant worldwide fallout easily identifiable in the chemostratigraphic record. Hence, Anthropocene deposits would be those that may include the globally distributed primary artificial radionuclide signal, while also being recognized using a wide range of other stratigraphic criteria. This suggestion for the HoloceneeAnthropocene boundary may ultimately be superseded, as the Anthropocene is only in its early phases, but it should remain practical and effective for use by at least the current generation of scientists.
... To even think in such terms requires a conceptual shift from modern notions of a nature external to humanity that provides the environmental context for humanity, to formulations that understand at least the affluent fossil-fuel-powered part of humanity as a key ecological actor in what effectively are geological processes. Such considerations suggest that humanity itself be understood in geological terms given the scale of its actions, a discussion that has given rise to various prior formulations of present times in geological terms before science settled on the informal use of 'the Anthropocene' in the last decade (Davis 2011). What is also clear is the relative novelty of major human interventions in the biosphere, although on closer examination the question of when humanity started to have a noticeable impact on the biosphere and which impact is most important turns out to be very complicated (Ruddiman 2005). ...
Chapter
Human activities have changed many of the key parameters of the Holocene geological epoch of the recent past so much that we now live in the Anthropocene. New perspectives in earth system science suggest that sustainable development and plans for transitions to a sustainable peace now have to consider the possibilities of rapid phase shifts in the biosphere. Constraining human activities to within a safe operating space defined by key ecological boundaries in the earth system is key to sustainability but planning has to recognize that rapid shifts may be coming. The implications of this suggest that sustainability planning has to think beyond notions of national security and recognize that human actions are shaping the future configuration of the planet and hence changing the geopolitical context. Adopting a perspective of geopolitical ecology with a focus on global economic production rather than only on traditional ideas of environmental protection is key to the future if planetary stewardship of the Anthropocene is to be successful.
... Понятие «антропоцен» в качестве неофициального термина для обозначения эпохи глобальной и главной роли человечества в изменении окружающей среды активно используется с 2000 г. после выхода публикации [2], где предложено считать, что закончилась эпоха голоцена и началась эпоха антропоцена. История использования терминов «голоцен» и «антропоцен» рассмотрена в работе [3]. В настоящее время на страницах журналов «The Anthropocene», «The Anthropocene Review» и «Elementa» обсуждаются проблемы антропоцена. ...
... Shapin's and his colleagues' critique of triumphalist accounts of the Scientific Revolution is a useful framework for thinking about the so-called Age of the Anthropocene. As with "the Scientific Revolution, " a term first used in the early twentieth century, "the Anthropocene" is a neologism, used widely only since the early twenty-first century (Crutzen and Stoermer 2000;Meybeck 2001;Steffen et al. 2004;Syvitski et al. 2005;Costanza, Graumlich, and Steffen 2007;Robin and Steffen 2007;Zalasiewicz et al. 2008;Chakrabarty 2009;Rockström et al. 2009;Armesto et al. 2010;Davis 2011;Steffen, Persson, et al. 2011;Dibley 2012;Crutzen and Steffen 2016). The origins of both concepts can be traced back two hundred years before their wide use-to the Enlightenment in the case of the Scientific Revolution and to the middle of the nineteenth century in the case of the Anthropocene. ...
... Although the notion of the Anthropocene is commonly credited to Eugene Stoermer who is said to have used the term in the 1980s, and Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen who contributed to popularizing the concept in the early 2000s, the concept has notable antecedents dating back at least two and a half centuries. Increasingly, these antecedents have been acknowl- edged in the scholarly literature (Davis, 2011;Lewis and Maslin, 2015;Lowenthal, 2016;Syvitski, 2012), however, some scholars remain averse to accepting earlier notions such as the "Anthropozoic era" as part of the Anthropocene's conceptual history. For instance, Clive Hamilton and Jacques Grinevald (2015) affirm that prior to Crutzen and Stoermer's formulation "there were no precursors to the notion of the Anthropocene" (59). ...
Article
Research on the Anthropocene has emerged fast and furiously across academic disciplines in recent years. While some have suggested that this concept signifies a rupture with the philosophical foundations of Western modernity, this paper stresses the continuities between the Anthropocene and its antecedents. I trace the development of the concept from the late 18th century through to the mid-20th century, identifying several colonial and Eurocentric features of these earlier accounts of the Anthropocene. I then proceed to question whether contemporary debates about the Anthropocene and its periodization evoke similar problematic narratives about progress, modernity, and civilization. In the closing section of this article, I discuss whether or not the Anthropocene can be salvaged as an analytical category without reproducing these colonial logics. Here, I conclude that regardless of whether the term is discarded or redeemed, critical scholars can help to problematize and destabilize the concept’s investment in the dominant onto-epistemological categories of Western modernity, thereby opening up possibilities for the plurality of ways of thinking and knowing to shape this conversation about the social and ecological predicaments of the colonial present.
... Robert traces the historical (Robert, 2011) transition from the Holocene to the Anthropocene and concludes that the term is not completely new. The contemporary use seems to have been triggered by Crutzen and Stoermer, whereas the idea emerges (Crutzen and Stoermer, 2000) in the literature long before this publication. ...
Article
The idea that the Holocene is over and a new human-dominated geological epoch, the Anthropocene, is in progress has been widely discussed. The article aims to outline the published definitions and current patterns on the Anthropocene, highlighting an agenda of emerging risks, challenges and possibilities for the health of the world's population in this new era. We performed a review on the complexities of planetary health in the Anthropocene, which generated 42 initial references for full-text reading; we selected 25 of them and carried out analysis and interpretation. Anthropogenic activities have increasing impacts on the environment and a fundamental change in the relationship between humans and the terrestrial system, in many ways that exert intentional and unintentional influences on natural and social processes. The burgeoning literature on health promotion and global public health talks about the anthropogenic forces, claiming a solid critical theory of action to confront, modify and reduce the deleterious effects of such forces. For that reason, the 23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion, scheduled to be held in New Zealand in 2019, emphasizes the theme 'Promoting Planetary Health and Sustainable Development for All'. It recognizes that the current paradigm of economic unlimited growth and exploitation of limited natural resources is unfair and unsustainable, leading to geopopulational and temporal inequities between generations. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: [email protected]
... Shapin's and his colleagues' critique of triumphalist accounts of the Scientific Revolution is a useful framework for thinking about the so-called Age of the Anthropocene. As with "the Scientific Revolution, " a term first used in the early twentieth century, "the Anthropocene" is a neologism, used widely only since the early twenty-first century (Crutzen and Stoermer 2000;Meybeck 2001;Steffen et al. 2004;Syvitski et al. 2005;Costanza, Graumlich, and Steffen 2007;Robin and Steffen 2007;Zalasiewicz et al. 2008;Chakrabarty 2009;Rockström et al. 2009;Armesto et al. 2010;Davis 2011;Steffen, Persson, et al. 2011;Dibley 2012;Crutzen and Steffen 2016). The origins of both concepts can be traced back two hundred years before their wide use-to the Enlightenment in the case of the Scientific Revolution and to the middle of the nineteenth century in the case of the Anthropocene. ...
... Though its colonial roots (Whyte, 2017) and conceptual history (Davis, 2011) are centuries old, the Anthropocene poses new challenges, partly because of rapid intensification of global warming and its cascading, cross-system, cross-scale effects. Conditions are complicated, volatile, and learning across sites is both more difficult and ever more critical. ...
Article
The Anthropocene requires the development of new forms of knowledge and supporting sociotechnical infrastructure. While there have been calls for both interdisciplinary and community-engaged approaches, there remains a need to develop, test, and sustain modes of Anthropocene knowledge production that effectively link people working at different scales, in different sites, with many different types of expertise. In this Perspectives piece, we describe one such approach to Anthropocene knowledge production, centered in short-term Field Campuses that bring together community actors in cultural institutions, media, and government agencies with external academic researchers, bringing cultural analysis into the work of characterizing and responding to the Anthropocene. We argue that it is important to build public knowledge infrastructure that allows people to visualize and address many intersecting scales and systems (ecological, atmospheric, economic, technological, social, cultural, etc.) that shape the Anthropocene at the local level.
... The urgent imperative for Earth science to help address society's growing unsustainability gains deeper motivation from the perversity that humans themselves have become a dominant geological force, now sufficient in intensity to warrant our own bespoke era: the Anthropocene (Steffen et al. 2011, Crutzen 2016, Zalasiewicz et al. 2019. Although the conceptual space for creating the modern Anthropocene was carved during the nineteenth-century foundation of geology (Davis 2011), geoscientific methods designed to unravel 'deep time' now track the environmental and ecological fallout from presentday human actions. The Huttonian science in which 'the present is the key to the past' now looks forwards to provide guidance on planetary boundaries, earth system tipping points, and 'a safe operating space for humanity ' (Rockstrom et al. 2009). ...
Preprint
In the context of tackling climate change in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, HRH Prince El-Hassan bin Talal has called for an integrated approach to human and natu-ral resources management that takes account of ‘the triangle of geography, geology and geophysics’. The lack of application of geoscientific knowledge to sustainable develop-ment issues is surprising given that advancing human progress lies at the roots of modern geoscience and aligns with the intellectual mindsets and technical skills that geoscientists are trained in. Applying this Earth science toolkit to the challenges of long-term sustaina-bility will require the global geoscience community to repurpose its principles and prac-tices, in particular: (1) better communicating what geoscientists know and do, and how that is socially useful; (2) reaching out to other disciplines more engaged in sustainability issues; and (3) re-designing Earth science education and training programmes to place sustainability and human wellbeing at the heart of a 21st century geoscientist’s profes-sional purpose.
... The name chosen for the proposed epoch is perhaps the most discussed topic in Anthropocene literature-perhaps paralleled only by debates over the beginning of the proposed unit of time (Edgeworth et al. 2015;Lewis and Maslin 2015;Syvitski et al. 2020;Waters et al. 2018). The question of naming the epoch has involved feminist epistemology (Schneiderman 2016), postcolonial studies (Crist 2013;Yusoff 2019), ecocriticism (Crist 2013), and even Foucault (Davis 2011). This sudden interest in stratigraphic nomenclature is peculiar insofar as theories and practices of stratigraphic nomenclature have been largely unknown to this type of scholarship before the popularization of the Anthropocene. ...
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Over the past two decades, the term ‘Anthropocene’ has ignited widespread academic and public interest. Since 2009, the term has been considered on stratigraphic grounds by the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG). The AWG has been championing a chronostratigraphic definition of the Anthropocene by advancing a proposal to formally recognize the unit as a post-Holocene epoch/series on the Geologic Time Scale and International Chronostratigraphic Chart. The proposal (i.e., the Anthropocene Hypothesis) has ignited debates among human, social, and natural scientists alike. One line of critique against the proposal concerns the chronostratigraphic suitability of the term ‘Anthropocene.’ This type of criticism holds that the term is inconsistent with the standard naming practices of the chronostratigraphic series; that it is inconsistent with other epochs of the Cenozoic era; that its etymology is faulty in several respects; and/or that its informal nature should be emphasized stylistically (e.g., with quotation marks or by writing the term with a lower-case initial). The present contribution reviews this criticism and discusses it in the context of (chrono)stratigraphic classification and nomenclature to assess whether ‘Anthropocene’ is a suitable chronostratigraphic term. To do so, the analysis comments on and discusses guidelines, recommendations, and suggestions drafted by the International Stratigraphic Guide, which represents an international framework of reference for stratigraphic classification and nomenclature. Based on the underlying philosophy and recommendation of the Guide, there seem to be reasons to consider the ‘Anthropocene’ a suitable term in the context of chronostratigraphic nomenclature. Published on: Anthropocene Science (forthcoming). Journal link: https://www.springer.com/journal/44177/
... The realization that the collective actions of humans had significant effects on Earth inspired many early observers, like Marsh, to discuss the role of human beings as a new geologic force (i.e. Suess, 1862;Haughton, 1866;Arrhenius, 1896;Woeikof, 1901;Shaler, 1905;Gilbert, 1917;Sherlock, 1922;Jacks and Whyte, 1939;Brown, 1970;Trimble, 1974;Trimble, 1975;Nir, 1983;Turner et al., 1990;Revkin, 1992;Gutiérrez and Naredo Pérez, 2005;Davis, 2011) and distinguished the need to identify and name the timeframe of these occurrences accordingly (Fig. 2). The Anthropocene, proposed as a new epoch, indicates the time during which human influence became a dominant force on Earth (Crutzen, 2006;Steffen et al., 2011;Maslin, 2015a, 2015b). ...
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... Holocene (entirely recent) as a formal epoch in geology was proposed by geologists to counterargument that human is the center of life. The Holocene has three primary points of evidence, namely the end of the last glacial, the emergence of humans, and the rise of a new civilization [5]. The range of the Holocene geological period lasts around 11 700 yr when summer becomes longer and departure from ice age [6,7]. ...
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... The concept of the Anthropocene in the world gained momentum again with Crutzen and Stoermer (2000) because of their reintroduction of this terminology after decades (e.g., Ruddiman, 2003;Crutzen, 2006;Schlütz and Lehmkuhl, 2009;Armesto et al., 2010;Zalasiewicz et al., 2011 and2015;Gale and Hoare, 2012;Slaughter, 2012;Oldfield, 2015). As a result of these studies, although there is a consensus about the existence of the Anthropocene, there are three fundamental approaches toward the beginning of the Anthropocene: (1) the Anthropocene should begin around 8000-3000 BC with the beginning of uncontrolled agriculture and increased inefficient land use (Ruddiman, 2003;Certini and Scalenghe, 2011;Ellis, 2011;Wilkinson et al. 2014); (2) it should begin with the expansion of the use of fossil fuels due to the Industrial Revolution so it comprises the last 200-500 years (Crutzen and Stoermer, 2000;Crutzen, 2002;Davis, 2011;Fischer-Kowalski et al. 2014);and (3) it started after World War II because of the first atomic bomb and post-nuclear tests and the Anthropocene-Holocene boundary must be in the mid-20th century (Steffen et al. 2007;Wolfe et al. 2013;Zalasiewicz et al. 2015;Waters et al. 2016). ...
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