Worse than we thought – humans have altered Earth’s history

Scale of human impact on planet has changed course of Earth’s history, scientists suggest
Anthropocene Working Group scientists publish recommendations for formalizing new geological epoch

From the UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER

  • Anthropocene Working Group scientists suggest human impact has now grown to the point that it has changed the course of Earth history
  • Findings identified a number of changes to the Earth System that characterize the geological Anthropocene including significant impact on factors controlling a changing global climate, sea level and biosphere
  • Study suggests that the Holocene no longer serves to adequately constrain the rate and magnitude of changes to Earth System

An audio interview about changes to the Earth with Professors Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams is available here: https:/ / soundcloud. com/ university-of-leicester/ the-earths-technosphere-shows-how-we-are-permanently-reshaping-our-planet

The significant scale of human impact on our planet has changed the course of Earth history, an international team of scientists led by the University of Leicester has suggested.

The researchers suggest that a multitude of human impacts have changed the course of Earth’s geological history, and the scale of these justifies developing a formal proposal that the Anthropocene – a concept improvised by the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Paul Crutzen in 2000 – should be made part of the Geological Time Scale.

Rapid changes to the planet include acceleration of rates of erosion and sedimentation; large-scale chemical perturbations to the cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other elements; the inception of significant change to global climate and sea level; and biotic changes including unprecedented levels of species invasions across the Earth.

This is a summary of the findings and interim recommendations of the international working group that has been studying the Anthropocene since 2009. Initially reported to the 2016 International Geological Congress at Cape Town, South Africa, the findings and recommendations have just been published online in the journal Anthropocene.

Professor Jan Zalasiewicz from the University of Leicester’s School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, said: “Our findings suggest that the Anthropocene should follow on from the Holocene Epoch that has seen 11.7 thousand years of relative environmental stability, since the retreat of the last Ice Age, as we enter a more unstable and rapidly evolving phase of our planet’s history.”

Professor Mark Williams, from the University of Leicester’s School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, said: “Geologically, the mid-20th century represents the most sensible level for the beginning of the Anthropocene – as it brought in large global changes to many of the Earth’s fundamental chemical cycles, such as those of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, and also very large amounts of novel materials such as plastics, concrete and aluminium, which will help build the strata of the future.”

The Anthropocene Working Group – which includes University of Leicester geologists Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams and honorary chair, Colin Waters, and archaeologist Matt Edgeworth – has been active since 2009, analysing the case for formalisation of the Anthropocene, a potential new epoch of geological time dominated by human impact on the Earth.

Professor Waters said: “The Anthropocene Working Group is now working on such a proposal, based upon finding a ‘golden spike’ – a reference level within recent strata somewhere in the world that will best characterize the changes of the Anthropocene. Once this detailed work is completed, it will be submitted for scrutiny by the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy of the International Commission on Stratigraphy.

“There is no guarantee of the success of this process – the Geological Time Scale is meant to be stable, and is not easily changed. Whatever decision is ultimately made, the geological reality of the Anthropocene is now clear.”

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A version of the new paper can be accessed (freely, until the end of 2017) at: https:/ / www. journals. elsevier. com/ anthropocene/ news/ summary-evidence-working-group-anthropocene-sumnterim

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107 thoughts on “Worse than we thought – humans have altered Earth’s history

    • Depends. If you are human, you think, well its is just us here. It is our planet and we will do with it as we wish. When we are gone, the cockroaches will have to fend for themselves.

      If you are an “environmentalist”, you think, OMG, Gaia is angry with us, we must throw more brown babies into the volcano to appease her.

    • It’s very bad, our ancestors are now freezing to death as historical temperatures are dropping to record lows.

      • Yeah, but sustainably. Last time I checked I had less than 700 ancestors in 10 ancestral generations, and the number is dropping as genealogy advances.

        The fact I don’t have full 1024 ancestors makes me deplorable, I’m afraid that happens in both leftist and rightist circles. The only who’d accept that are people with religious nature I don’t mind be connected with.

    • “Findings identified a number of changes to the Earth System that characterize the geological Anthropocene including significant impact on factors controlling a changing global climate, sea level and biosphere”

      This is pretty heady stuff since nothing here has been defined as identifiable changes or factors that have been impacted. Nothing has been shown, confirmed, or proven, but they love to sound as if there is something there; but the nothing-burger lives on.

    • news flash to scientists. humans have been changing the planet on a massive scale ever since we learned to domesticate fire, which goes back at least 2 million years, to the invention of cooked food. even to this day humans burn large amounts of the earth’s surface each year, to control the plants and animals using the land, and improve the food supply for humans.

      • Well, as I see it there are two possible history lines here, one with Humanity and one without. I’ll let your choose your favorite. :-)

    • History is a record of what was – it cannot be changed, period. Humans, asteroids and just about anything else on earth (or in space) can perhaps ‘change’ what would have been but that has yet to be written. Nothing different that that which has always been.

      • Shameful…..Absolute shame on all of us. How dare we motley crew of human beings apply our knowledge and creativity to the planet’s resources and then further, to learn to at least minimally control and apply the planet’s natural processes to devised methods and means that improve the human condition here on planet Earth. Isn’t that just deplorable? Resulting in a F. U. B. A. R. condition, even.

    • I have my furnace and air conditioner all the clean water I can drink (coffee, beer, ect.) a refrigerator to keep more food longer, I can keep going but you get the picture. Damn straight it’s a good thing. The world has a smaller percentage of its population in poverty then it did 100 or 50 years ago and that is attributable to fossil fuels.

    • relevant??
      From:
      professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne, professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide, and the director of multiple mineral exploration and mining companies. He has published 130 scientific papers, six books and edited the Encyclopedia of Geology.
       
      Born February 1946
       
      (age     71 )  
       
       
       
      Residence
       
      Australia
       
       
       
      Nationality
       
      Australian
       
       
       
      Fields
       
      Earth Science,Geology,   Mining Engineering
       
       
       
      Institutions
       
      University of New England,University of Newcastle,University of      Melbourne   , University of Adelaide
       
       
       
      Alma mater
       
      University of New South Wales,Macquarie University
       
       
       
      Thesis
       
      The pipe deposits of tungsten-molybdenum-bismuth in eastern      Australia   (1976)
       
       
       
      Notable awards
       
       

      Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?  

      Professor Ian Plimer could not have said it better!  

      PLIMER   : “Okay, here’s the bombshell. The volcanic eruption in Iceland. Since its first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet – all of you. Of course, you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to suppress – it’s that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans and all animal life.

      I know….it’s very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up till midnight to finish your kids “The Green Revolution” science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50 cent light bulbs with $10.00 light bulbs…..well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just four days.

      The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in just four days – yes, FOUR DAYS – by that volcano in Iceland has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon. And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud at any one time – EVERY DAY.

      I don’t really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in all its years on earth.

      Yes, folks, Mt Pinatubo was active for over       one year – think about it.  
      Of course, I shouldn’t spoil this ‘touchy-feely tree-hugging’ moment and mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which       keeps happening despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.

      And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud, but the fact of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our world for the next two to three years. And it happens every year.

      Just remember that your government just tried to impose a whopping carbon tax on you, on the basis of the bogus ‘human-caused’ climate-change scenario.  
      Hey, isn’t it interesting how they don’t mention ‘Global Warming’       anymore, but just ‘Climate Change’     – you know why?

      It’s because the planet has   COOLED by 0.7 degrees     in the past century and these global warming bullshit artists got caught with their pants down.  
      And, just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme – that whopping new tax – imposed on you that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you poorer.
      It won’t stop any volcanoes from erupting, that’s for sure.
          But, hey, relax…… and have a nice day!”

  1. Scale of human impact on planet has changed course of Earth’s history,……….every time they adjust past temps

      • True, the Anthropocene period was the growth epoch of Humanity. As we enter the Adjustocene, we begin the decline of western civilization and the rise of global governance.

        The planet will meanwhile go about its course of healing itself and reducing anything left on its surface to rubble.

  2. Changing history is tough without a time machine, however influencing the future is within our ability. But that started with the discovery of fire, and became a significant factor in stabilizing the fall of CO2 in the atmosphere with the start of widespread coal and petroleum usage.

    Without either the aforementioned time machine or a crystal ball, we’ll never know if we’ve prevented another catastrophic extinction event as sequestration of carbon in limestone and hydrocarbons dropped atmospheric CO2 below the level that could support plant life.

    The assumption that we’re changing a set course, the correct “history of Earth,” rather than influencing our approach to the actual broad swath of potential futures seems odd to me.

    Relabeling the current era “Anthropocene” seems premature, and really ought to date back to agriculture and coal mining, IMO.

    • Or just rename the Holocene as the Anthropocene. The only thing that really differentiates the Holocene from the past dozen or so Pleistocene interglacial stages is the impact of humans on Earth.

      • Then I suggest the “Idiocene” as a sub epoch in which science lost all reason and logic and folklore returned in its place.

      • This would make a lot more sense. Except for that whole “OMGZ! We’ve wrecked the planet for all time!” agenda that these scienticians seem to have.

      • Agreed David. Holocene literally translates to ‘entirely recent’, so any current epoch therefore should be called the Holocene.

        The entire Holocene should be named the Anthropocene. Humans had far more impact on their environments prior to the mid 19th century then afterwards because relied entirely on biomass and wind for energy, which removed many of the old growth forests of the world (some had even been removed and grown back after civilizations failed). Europe and Asia had certainly altered their drainage basins prior to the mid 19th century.

        If you were to argue that the Anthropocene started only when climate and sea level effects from humans began, then you’d need to explain why prior interglacials were warmer and had higher sea level. The real human impacts are on the biosphere, land cover changes, and sedimentation, it just makes for a much more alarming story when you say that climagedon is going to drown us all.

      • “Aphan October 3, 2017 at 7:24 am

        …folklore returned in its place.”

        The Italians have turned to tarot card readers and the occult to try to explain why their economy has tanked.

  3. History is a human construct, no such thing as “earth’s” history. Words actually do have meanings..

  4. The rise/impact of humans is as natural as that of ants or whales or dinosaurs.

    Just more misanthropic claptrap.

  5. One of the earliest known world maps, Babylonian Imago Mundi 600 BCE, covers several cities and is characterised by Euphrates river. Not by a royal palace or king. But, perhaps an anthropocentric model is awaiting for discovery in deeper archeological sediments.

  6. “The Anthropocene Working Group is now working on such a proposal, based upon finding a ‘golden spike–”

    Oh. My. Cat. The Hunt for the Golden Spke, a tale of daring searches through files and books with a flashlight! A tale full of sound bites and furious arguments over data charts concocted out of whole cloth, signifying nothing! A search for the Mysterious Golden Spike that we can use to get more money, and not have to work at Walmart! Read it and weep, over the way your tax money is being spent!!!

    Hudson: Excuse me, sir…
    1LT Gore: Yes, Hicks?
    Hudson: I’m Hudson, sir. He’s Hicks. (Pointing at Hicks.)
    1LT Gore: What is it, Private?
    Hudson: Is this a bug hunt, sir, or is it a stand-up fight?

    Humans have altered the history of Planet Earth. Yeah, so, what exactly am I supposed to do with this information????? It’s what we do – we create things, we build things, we come up with clever ideas and put them to work. Is it possible to point out the obvious to these people and remind them that their unspecified complaint has no merit, because if we didn’t do these things, they might not exist even as molecules?

    Ummm… no disrespect meant, but people who live in the UK and are aware of this nonsense could justifiably hold a protest over this. How long is Twaddle going to be the King of Info?

    • Isn’t the Anthropocene Working Group attempting to influence the future. Why is theirs any better if it undoes progress?

  7. History is history. What is the past has passed. You can change future events by what happens today but you can’t change history, which is what has already occurred. That is unless your a leftist, because they strive to change history all the time in about every sphere by revisionism. They of course can’t change what has actually already happened, but constantly strive to report that history to suit their own current agendas. Thus this article is not only not science, it is science fiction.

    • Right. I immediately thought changing history referred to jigging the numbers to make the early 20th century appear colder and the early 21st century warmer. That might be construed as changing or at least rewriting history.

  8. Mammoths, Stegodons and Mastodons loved the Pleistocene but never got acquainted with the Holocene… Maybe they tasted too much like chicken.

    The Holocene is the Anthropocene.

  9. Classic example of the “begging the question” fallacy.
    Assemble a team of advocates and name yourselves the “Anthropocene Working Group” and then develop a mission to find the “Golden Spike” to prove Man created a new epoch of geological time.
    Do you think they might have assumed an answer to their quest before they started?

    • I’m sure they did their best to robustly reveal the strongest available evidence on facts they knew to be true beforehand.

      In other words, this is a political, not a factual thing per se.

    • Hmmm. Sounds like another group i have heard of. Mmm. Oh, yes, the group founded to find out how CO2 is the cause of global warming…or global weirding…or climate change…or something. And was given a helluva lot of money to do so. ….Still looking, as I see it.

  10. Termites changed the course of Earth “history”. Mollusks changed the course of Earth “history”. Plankton changed the course of Earth “history”.

    Why are we getting our scientific education from people that don’t understand science?

    • Bingo. What a waste of resources to perform this study. On the other hand, it keeps them from meddling in science.

  11. We are part of nature, so it changes us, and we change it.
    All life does this to some extent, and sometimes to very large extent.
    Billions of years ago the first bacteria flooded the earth’s atmosphere with oxygen. If climate alarmists had been there at the time they would have called it pollution and tried to stop it.

    • TDBraun, brilliant! This anthropocene nonsense is offensive to me as a geologist by training. I have difficulty calling the Holocene a geological epoch for that matter. Cyanobacteria truly changed the planet, they deserve a geological period or era. Humans? Not so much. We are in an interglacial, if the next glaciation began tomorrow and was severe, would anyone know we had ever been here in a million years?

      As they note, can we put our finger on a point in any rock sequence and say this is the beginning of the anthropocene? Could we find it in another rock sequence somewhere in the world? If we could find such a point, do we think it will be preserved through the next glacial period?

      Why does man think he is so important? Isn’t it enough to fantasize that we control the climate, why do we now have to fantasize that we control the geological record of the future?

      • (Why does man think he is so important? Isn’t it enough to fantasize that we control the climate, why do we now have to fantasize that we control the geological record of the future?)

        Good question Andy, but it is something that has gone on for a very long time. What humans fail to realize is that our species time on earth is finite, as with all species. The genus may or may not continue forward, but if it did,would it even be recognizable to us. In the long run, we are just another small blip on the geologic time scale, which in it’s self is a recent (geologically and historically) human invention, and may have no meaning what so ever once our time is up.

        I suppose T-rex probably though itself to be a big deal too.

      • I suspect some millions of years from now there will be an equivalent to the K-T boundary above which no human fossils are found. That boundary may or may not contain iridium. Most likely it will be radioactive or otherwise indicative of some kind of massive event from our own star or another.

    • Indeed, if you step back and look at all the evidence, it’s almost as if everything happened for a reason and man is here at this very time and place emitting the life essential molecule CO2 into the atmosphere for a reason.

    • Yes, see my reply, re “1984”.

      “Changing history”? Chilling.

      Maybe they meant “affecting earth”?

      Its Sociology, Jake…

  12. Last time i check, “History” began when man invented writing, any event before being labeled “prehistoric”.
    So men did not altered history, they MADE it.

  13. This is what happens when Universities change Geological degrees from a BS to a BA with less emphasis on physical sciences. Out of ignorance you get this (what I call) ‘Temporal Arrogance’.
    Firstly, Epochs are defined by what has happened, not by what some model predicts is going to happen. Secondly, since the last ice age the seas have risen about 400′. The AGW crowd has attributed at most a few inches to human caused sea level increase. How exactly is the last 3 inches differentiated from the first 399.75′ to justify a new Epoch?

    • Rapid changes to the planet include acceleration of rates of erosion and sedimentation;

      Then out of the Past came Devils Tower. – Devils Tower Uncovered – Until erosion began its relentless work, Devils Tower was not visible above the overlying sedimentary rocks. But the forces of erosion, particularly that of water, began to wear away the soft sandstones and shales above and around the Tower. The much harder igneous rock of the Tower survived the onslaught of erosional forces, and the gray columns of Devils Tower began to appear above the surrounding landscape.

      If you have never been there, Devils Tower rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. And the high plains are relatively flat, for many, many miles. A lot of sedimentation got moved, enough to fill the Inland Sea of old.

      Does this Epoch have its own name?

  14. Altering history and altering the course of history are not the same thing.

    Every major invention has altered the course of history.
    Altering history is what the climatologists have been doing for decades.

    • Every flap of a butterfly wing, every cow fart, every cloud that forms, etc. change the course of history. BFD

  15. wait. we altered something that already happened?
    damn…we rock!!
    no we didn’t.
    we MAY have (and thats debatable) altered the foretasted FUTURE (or diverted ourselves into a different multi-verse plane….) bet it is impossible to alter the actual history.

  16. Of course, anything humans do is “unnatural”. The conference seems to have been taken over by rogue creationists, as if humans are not part of nature, they must be supernatural. I start to contemplate causes being either a lack or a surfeit of drugs at this conference.

  17. humans have altered Earth’s history

    That’s true. The Marxist revisionists are constantly rewriting/altering history to suit their ideology.

  18. Depends if you don’t think humans aren’t natural. When we changed things 10,000 years ago with animal husbandry was that the start or when we started cutting down trees and slash burn agriculture 50,000 years ago or only recently. Does beavers deserve there own time, or ants or many of the successful animals that change their environment. Perhaps this will only a short blimp that only lasts a few hundred years maybe a thousand years, but then we will be stuck with a name for the ages that just shows man’s hubris.

  19. How much taxpayer’s money is spent on The Anthropocene Working Group? Should this expense be discontinued? With their valuable research they should find a new sponsor easily.

  20. Oh FFS. I have almost given up on the obvious nonsense of all this academic pant wetting pseudo science hysterical assertion. More bad science (BS) propagated at our expense by bat shit crazy academics with no useful deterministic real science to do.

    The reality most joined up physicists like wot I am know is that humans have insignificant effects on planet Earth, , human lives are over in a fraction of any natural cycle, so change IS seen as unnatural in their tiny lifespans. The planet and the systems involved are so huge and on such a periodicity, when cyclic, that any effects are truly minimal and generally asymptotic and self correcting, (why doesn’t anyone point out that radiative losses from any temperature increase will increase to power 4 by Stefan Boltzman law, rincreased CO2 effects are asymptotic, runaway unlikely, etc. BS. 10% change, 46% increase in heat required, right? Same as wind and watermills lose energy input with the CUBE of the incident medium’s velocity, 1/2 speed 12.5% output. Basic maths so few know, not their “speciality” . Not realy scientists at all, simple craftsmen peddling belief, the priests of their era..

    QUICK SUMMARY OF THE FUTURE: Nostracattus he say: It lies ahead, and, Pr: 0.9999

    The next ice age IS coming, we can’t affect that. Clever nations will have the ability to respond to the V E R Y gradual changes and protect their technological civilisation through gradual change, or project the core of it through a disaster, which should be the ONLY significant spend of the economic surplus technology has given us over our long suffering history of brutal and health care free carbo hydrate powered superstition and irrationally fearful religious culture we are stiil trying to rid ourselves of, but are governed by expliting. That may changearound the time the ice returns?

    Totally certain: Politicians trying to fix things by voting to change the laws of physics with subsidies only make things worse, except for them and their cronies who get richer at everyone else’s expense. PLus ca C change…….. we need to get rid of these self serving priests for rationality to carry us to a better future, based on provable facts over debateable beliefs. Physics degrees in hard science, not statistical pseudo science, over soft PPE and arts degrees that demand no proof of anything.

    Anyone can do that. And anyone does. etc.

  21. When they say, we have altered history, are they referring to the Mandela Effect, or are they confusing ‘being apart of history’ with ‘altering history’?

  22. Anthropocene Working Group translates as people with no serious and responsible work to do meeting weekly on Mondays to invent new titles to call themselves and their activities in the expectation that snowflakes funding this nonsense will be duly impressed. I wonder what future historians will say of them when all this nonsense eventually comes crashing down and everyone sees through them. It probably won’t be a very kind judgement.

  23. I wasn’t aware there was a time machine that could take you back in history to pre-human times, then show you what was “supposed” to happen if those pesky humans hadn’t arrived from outer space (they cannot be part of the planet—nope, they are alien definately). Last time I saw anything like that was an alien in the TV show “Andromeda”. She could sort out the best possible future and act on it. I thought it was scifi. Maybe not…..

  24. If there NEVER were any humans, how would the history books read? What would be written. wait a minute. There would be no books. there would be no “history”. History is a strictly human construct. History requires language.
    The Earth and all it’s life (sans Humanity) knows only today.

  25. It had to happen. The left has been re-writing history for almost a century. They believe they have that down to an art, actually they probably labeled it a science, now they plan the same thing for the future. If government quit funding such adventures we would all be better off.

  26. I can think of only one area where the argument that humans have changed the course of earth history. Even so, on the scale of hundreds of thousands or a million years, it is probably meaningless. I’m speaking about the transmission of species to other parts of the planet where they are not native. Rats, frogs, insects, plants, bacteria, etc.

  27. By burning up fossil fuels Mankind has contributed to a much needed increase in CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. The effort may mean that life may not end during the next ice age. But there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific reasoning to suppot the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is really zero. Humans have had an effect on the Earth’s albedo but it has been trivial considering all what else had been happening. The biggest problem with humans has been that their out of control population has been contributing to extinctions because of habitat loss. If Mankind is not careful our out of control population my victimize ourselves as well.

  28. The really scary and comical thing in all this, is the alarmists seem to really believe in this nonsense.

  29. The Anthropocene era? Worship the creature rather than the creator. A Limerick.

    The Anthropocene is today

    an era that entered the fray

    of the climate change freaks.

    Blame the humans! It reeks

    of hubris. Me guilty? Ixnay.

    One quote: (from an article in Nature)
    “Some supporters of the Anthropocene idea have even been likened to zealots. “There’s a similarity to certain religious groups who are extremely keen on their religion—to the extent that they think everybody who doesn’t practice their religion is some kind of barbarian,” says one geologist who asked not to be named. https://lenbilen.com/2015/03/31/the-anthropocene-era-worship-the-creature-rather-than-the-creator-a-limerick/

  30. Isn’t history a record of Times Past? The only time we have is the Present moment and we can only influence the Future by our actions. All actions of everything in the Present moment influence the Future. We can’t influence the Past so we can’t influence History . And we can argue about it “til Kingdom Come “( remembering that this can happen at anytime )

  31. Man altering the history of the earth? Well I certainly hope so and I hope we master that art pretty quickly. We only have one or two millennia before we slip back into a glaciation and I like to think we’ll figure out some way to avoid that. Glaciations aren’t good for civilizations primitive or high tech. Imagine the arguments then between the ‘let’s change the climate and warm things up’ and the ‘man hadn’t ought to be messing around with nature’ camps. Fortunately we won’t be confronted with that and if I’m wrong about this Global Warming thing we probably have the solution at hand. I fear I’m not wrong.

  32. The course this Planet is heading is exactly the course it has to be on. There is no other way because the current course is the result of everything that has already happened.

  33. Several people have stated reglaciation at the end of the current interglacial would threaten humans with extinction.
    Sheet ice covering all areas poleward of 45 degrees would indeed make Canada, Europe and northern Asia uninhabitable, but how would that threaten humanity? Wouldn’t the change to the climate make the band of deserts roughly aligned with the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn become arable? The Sahara, the Gobi, Etc would become the new breadbaskets. The U.S. Southwest would become even more productive as agriculture would no longer be limited to irrigation projects.

    Just imagine Arizona with the climate of current day western Oregon and West Texas with the climate of current day Illinois.

    SR

    • Oops, I should have left the Gobi out, as it is a rain shadow desert, and too far north as well. Substitute “the Kalahari” for “the Gobi”, please.

      SR

  34. The course of history can not be changed. History is a record of what happened in the past. It is what it is. It doesn’t have a course. That would imply it was preordained, which is ludicrous. The eruption of Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii. That was history. In the 20th century humans put a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere. That was history.

  35. The sheer hubris of ill educated government funding dependents.

    Nothing humans have built, mined, consumed, grown or emitted have changed the world.

    Mankind’s largest buildings and cities, with very few exceptions, degrade within a few centuries into mineralized clay and dirt.
    Even those cities where man uses rock and stone degrade rapidly into loose stones and gravel.

    Looking for relative comparisons is extremely difficult. Fleas on elephants are a far larger size relationship, than man is on Earth. If measured in only one direction, e.g. vertical, mankind’s tallest buildings or deepest mines might start to be a similar size relationship.

    Erosion and sedimentation is natural. These terrible excuses for “working group” scientists have not presented any evidence that erosion is different because of mankind.

    Cut off their funding!

    • Don’t be silly. Cities may some day, the way Angkor and the mayan cities did, but right now they are here. Just like we have fields and cattle where forest or swamp and wild species would be if it wasn’t for us. Men surely will disappear some day, the way dinosaurs did (that is, evolving into something else), but right now we are here and do have an impact, a huge one as super-predator and biotope designer. We turn everything into OUR biotope, and other species either adapt or plainly disappear. Nothing wrong with that, every living being does the same

      • Who is silly?

        Angkor and the Mayan cities are built of stone. Even then, the jungle was reclaiming both cities.
        Both are heavily damaged by growth, erosion, weathering and earthquakes.

        All in less that two millennia.

        Angkor, Mexico’s Mayan and the Amazon were densely populated cities.
        Those civilizations vanished and wilderness quickly and fully reclaimed those lands.

        Man’s enduring effect? Some piled rocks.
        A boon to archaeologists who tend to imagine more than they actually discover.

        Man will not evolve further. Man pretends that nature no longer controls which people prosper and multiply; temporarily man is correct. That will change someday; but not as long as civilized man treats extra-normal people as defective deviants. It may take a true disaster to force a status change, e.g. asteroid impact, disease outbreaks, war, famine, large scale volcanism, severe temperature drop, etc.

        Again, man’s cities are temporary edifices. Urbanites and suburbanites love their living places to be sterile to most wildlife and plants. But that is temporary vanity.

        Urban man hates nature and desperately fears natural change. As soon as mankind builds a developed area, man installs a legal system to force mankind’s lifestyle to remain within narrow boundaries.
        • Lawns must exist and be mowed.
        • Weed’s controlled.
        • Houses painted, just so.
        • Sidewalks cleared immediately after nature dumps debris upon them.
        • Except for singular pets, none, or virtually none domesticated animals; no chickens, turkeys, geese, cattle, sheep, rabbits, etc.
        • The only wildlife tolerated are those animals that man fails to eradicate because that wildlife thrives within man’s sterilized world.

        In spite of man’s sterilized world insistence, nothing of mankind survives very long. Once man, the caretaker leaves the premises, nature and wildlife fully return.

        Roman civilization eliminated many dangerous beasts from Southern Europe and around the Mediterranean.
        Roman penchant for staged fights, including fights against beasts, decimated the local populations for lions, aurochs, elephants, leopards and wolves.
        Are these animals gone from that region permanently?
        No!
        When these animal food sources return and man fails to intervene, these predators will return.

        Man’s civilizations have proven themselves temporary, only. Man’s civilized world over a very brief few thousand years proves that natural events drive man out of their enclaves returning man’s dwellings to dust and debris.
        All that within miniscule portions of time. Geological time.

        Man’s permanence over a few millennia is nonexistent.

        On Earth, over millennia, over eons man’s constructions have zero permanence.

        “paqyfelyc October 4, 2017 at 1:22 am
        …but right now we are here and do have an impact, a huge one as super-predator and biotope designer. We turn everything into OUR biotope,”

        Hubris, pure and simple.

        Whether African bomas or the bark and stick Iroquois longhouses; man builds a temporary shelter then glories himself over living apart from the beasts.
        Man’s current urban development is not different or even better, but it is just as temporary.

        These urban developments are not oases. They are semi-sterile barren deserts. Whatever affects man’s food supply controls whether man continues to live under ignorant urban bliss.

        Yet, even these barren dwelling spots will flourish again some time in the future. Once man stops maintaining his protected area, erosion and sedimentation will return fertility and water-holding ability to the land.
        Likely within a millennia.

        Man’s current influence on Earth is less than that of a flea on an elephant.

      • In other words, get over yourselves, you are not all that important. Once people move on from a region nature immediately comes back into primacy. Here in western PA there are areas that had populations in the 10s of thousands, once the oil boom was effectively over those people went away and SHAZAM, within 20-30 years the forest and wild animals took it back.

      • “2hotel9 October 4, 2017 at 7:02 am”

        Aye 2hotel9!

        And before the oil boom, there was a timber boom. Most of the timber towns were ghost towns and now mostly no town at all places. Returned to Mother Earth.

        Just north of Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsy are some state game lands. Right off one of the entrances to the gamelands is where the town of Ricketts used to exist.

        The Town of Ricketts (1890-1913)
        The town of Ricketts arose at a site on the Wyoming-Sullivan County border along Mehoopany Creek. It was chosen in the summer of 1890 by the Trexler & Turrell Lumber Company, which had contracted to cut about 5,000 acres of virgin forest land near Lake Ganoga that was owned by Col. R. Bruce Ricketts of Wilkes-Barre. At the same time, Ricketts also leased a smaller tract adjacent to Trexler’s tracts for timbering to Albert Lewis, another major lumber manufacturer who was building or acquiring mills in the region in Mehoopany, Lopez, Stull, Harvey’s Lake, and Dallas.

        The center of the ghost town of Ricketts today is located 4.4 miles north of the present park entrance to Lake Jean at Ricketts Glen State Park on Route 487. Here, immediately below the Pennsylvania Fish Commission access road which bears right to Mountain Springs, a small bridge crosses Mehoopany Creek. To the right of the site, before crossing the bridge, there was once a street lined with homes, a church, and a lodge hall.

        The bridge site was roughly the location of a dam which impounded creek water in “downtown” Ricketts in Forkston Township in Wyoming County. The mill pond here supported, over time, at least four different mills. Immediately on the other side of the Route 487 bridge, a railroad bed to the right leads past an area along
        the creek once alive with the workings of mills. A little further up the rail bed there once bloomed a commercial center with a railroad station, company store, hotel, school, and company houses. In the other direction, upstream from the bridge on Route 487, about three-quarters of a mile into Colley Township in Sullivan County, was another more substantial log dam and pond which once impounded countless logs for the huge Trexler & Turrell lumber mill. Here, at “uptown” Ricketts, surrounding the mill, were auxiliary buildings: for example, the blacksmith shop, planing mill, and grease house, which served the mill works. In the neighborhood there were other housefilled streets, barns, and a two-room Sullivan County schoolhouse, a substantial community which disappeared nearly eighty years ago.”

        When I was young, eons ago, it was possible to see house foundations or fall into the occasional basement. The nearby apple orchard was far overgrown and accessing individual apple trees nearly impossible. The stream that passes by is occupied by beaver ponds that are difficult to traverse.

        Twenty years ago, most of the apple trees were dead stumps. Vines, brush and trees hid the parts of the ghost town we used to walk through. Rattlesnakes and bears are more common than people. I had trouble finding any foundations, nor did I try to find a basement to fall into.

        Mention the ghost town to local residents guaranteed a blank stare. Nothing of the town was visible and without the apple trees, only hunters and fishers had reason to walk the land and discover small remnants of Ricketts town.

        A decent hike out of Ricketts Glen State Park, along the Highland Trail or the Cherry Run Trail brings one to the breached dam at ex-Lake Leigh. A crumbling edifice of concrete that is rapidly disappearing.

        On a side note: One enters Ricketts Glen across the top of Lake Jean’s dam. Down below the dam are some grasslands and a lot of blueberry bushes.
        Generally, these blueberries start to ripen around the Fourth of July, but ripe blueberries can be found for most of the summer.
        Pick blueberries with both eyes open! Bears are common around the Ricketts Glen area, and for some odd reason the bears tend to believe the blueberries are theirs.

        By all means visit Ricketts Glen falls. If my memory is correct, there are twenty three falls along a few miles of trails. Be aware, these trails can be steep in a number of places.

      • Ah, over in the Poconos. I’m out west by the Allegheny. Butler and Venango and Clarion and Armstrong counties. Not unusual to find old oil wells with wood casing, oil collection tanks made of wood, soft steel oil pipelines, sucker rods and all manner metal machinery and equipment, railway spurs. Not to mention remains of buildings and vehicles. And that is just hunting. Have friends who work with local historical groups, we go out looking for old homesteads, bridges and mine sites. Found brick making sites in two places that were active in the 1820s. Sites where local people quarried stone are always interesting. The world is full of cool sh*t, just got to be willing to go look for it.

      • “2hotel9 October 5, 2017 at 1:58 pm
        Ah, over in the Poconos. I’m out west by the Allegheny. Butler and Venango and Clarion and Armstrong counties. Not unusual to find old oil wells with wood casing, oil collection tanks made of wood, soft steel oil pipelines, sucker rods and all manner metal machinery and equipment, railway spurs. Not to mention remains of buildings and vehicles. And that is just hunting. Have friends who work with local historical groups, we go out looking for old homesteads, bridges and mine sites. Found brick making sites in two places that were active in the 1820s. Sites where local people quarried stone are always interesting. The world is full of cool sh*t, just got to be willing to go look for it.”

        Agreed!

        You did mention Western PA upthread. But Western PA was a five hour drive from Eastern PA where I lived.
        I could make the Poconos in two hours and have my tent set up in a Rickett’s Glen or Worlds End campsite within three hours.

        Ghost houses, wells, coal mines and ghost farms are common in many places. I am glad you explore and find many!

        We used to follow the streams and many houses and businesses were built near streams. Sometimes we fished, other times we just liked cooling off in the cold water as we splashed along. While hunting, it is far easier to see distances and spot foundations. Except in rhododendron patches and dense pines.

        Those Western PA hills have some mighty steep sides!

  36. Of course the large populations of bison earlier in the USA or even carrier pigeons were not as notable as a human population explosion. Depends on your point of view about what happens in history. What would a bison have thought? Why be solely anthropocentric? Geoff

  37. When you think of all the Hurricanes and Tornadoes caused by those butterrflies in the Amazon, I am not surprised that Mankind has had some effect on the Earth, but how much exactly?

  38. Understanding Anthropocene Working Group and Doomsday Clock Prophets concomitantly requires curving the spacetime itself. The former seems to be moving away at the speed of light while a mere second seems to last an eternity with the latter.

  39. To Anthropocene Working Group
    Where’s the rock strata where you found plastics and aluminum cans? Are geologists now digging in garbage dumps? Those are not geologists, they are garbage men looking for your Anthropocene paper and the Anthropocene journal because they know where to find trash

  40. “humans have altered Earth’s history” That sounds a bit meaningless. First, you can’t “alter history”. Atleast not without a time machine. Second, aren’t things always changing? Earth has changed massively multiple times during its history. For example continents are changing constantly, not to mention all the ice ages, mass extinctions, temperature, climate. Things are changing all the time. Also the concept of “history” is a human construct. Are they implying that there is somekind of predetermined path that the Earth will take and now that humans have appeared we are “off the rails”? Is that a good or bad thing? That the asteroid impacts were all meant to happen and the dinosaurs were all meant to die from the beginning? If so, can they tell what would have happened to Earth without humans 100 years from now. How about 1000? 10 000? Million? Maybe there is a God after all.

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