Big Picture Science – Surviving the Anthropocene

by Gary Niederhoff on February 22, 2015


Big Picture Science – Surviving the Anthropocene

The world is hot, and getting hotter. But higher temperatures aren’t the only impact our species is having on mother Earth. Urbanization, deforestation, and dumping millions of tons of plastic into the oceans … these are all ways in which humans are leaving their mark.

So are we still in the Holocene, the geological epoch that started a mere 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age? Some say we’ve moved on to the age of man – the Anthropocene.

It’s the dawn of an era, but can we survive this new phase in the history of our planet?

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Jonathan Amos / Human Influence
Part 2: David Grinspoon / Biological Inevitability
Part 3: Francisco Valero / DSCOVR
Part 4: Gaia Vince / Adaptation

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Richard February 23, 2015 at 12:32 pm

” The planet is hot”

Last I checked on Wolfram Alpha the average temperature of the planet was 14C (That’s 57.2F). That temperature is cool to me. If that’s hot to you I wonder what cool is – Vostock?

“and is getting hotter” Not in the last 18 years according to the satellite records.

That’s the opening two statements wrong.

I’m sure we might survive the awful heat if we became 2 degrees “hotter” but would we survive if a large comet or asteroid or even a small star slammed into us or grazed us sending us spinning out of orbit?

Apparently a small star invaded our solar system a scant 70,000 years ago which the astronomers were blissfully unaware of. They were too busy worrying about the trace CO2 in our atmosphere. The stuff that makes our plants grow.

avatar Gary Niederhoff February 23, 2015 at 3:40 pm
avatar David Harper February 24, 2015 at 1:39 am

You claim that the Holocene is giving way to the Anthropocene; your argument is convincing. But what I think you are omitting from the discussion is how computing will evolve, and how quickly it will supplant the Anthropocene. What shall we call it, and so give it a conceptual framework?

There is also a revolution happening in the physics, chemistry and biological sciences (largely due to computing). All four sciences are being mingled and cross breed. It seems obvious that these Anthropocene technologies are pressing the Universe’s evolution into an age of cyber intelligence, which will make human intelligence obsolete.

So shall we call it the Cyberocene, maybe Intellocene or i-ocene?

avatar Richard February 25, 2015 at 5:07 am

“Climate scientists” you mean. What they lie about is in saying they have a clue about the effects of “Global warming”. Let’s call it by its correct name. What they lie about is in saying that “climate change” aka “Global warming” is an established scientific theory of the same status as The theory of Evolution or Relativity.

They are rather akin to astrologers and tarot card readers, as from the scientific fact that greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere, they claim to predict our (distant) future – from droughts, cyclones and spread of disease. What they lie about is that they pretend they can control the Earth’s temperature like the thermostat on an airconditioner by simply controlling the CO2 in the atmosphere and thereby cure the world of all its ills.

The future is predicted as dire if we do not act to reduce this dreadful gas. We will drown because we will not be able to outpace a sea level rise of 4 mm per year. We are totally incapable of doing that unlike the Neanderthals and our caveman ancestors who managed to survive sea level rises 10 times as fast as today.

According to them warm is bad, cold is good. As Molly Bentley’s relative so eloquently testified.

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