(A cartoon by Josh follows) Yesterday, Dr. Judith Curry tweeted:
A much needed article, debunks the ‘anthropocene’
…and linked to this article:
Welcome to the Narcisscene
Returning Humans to the Center of the Cosmos
By Mark Sagoff
At a conference in Amsterdam in 2001, the International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and affiliated scientific groups issued what its authors called “the historic Amsterdam Declaration on Earth System Science.” According to this historic declaration, “A new system of global environmental science is required.”1 Although the IGBP eventually closed in response to changes in the funding landscape, its most historic act was to propose the concept of the Anthropocene, a new geologic epoch that would emphasize and draw public attention to the degree to which humanity has altered the “Earth system.” Paul Crutzen, who then served as IGBP vice chair and had earlier won a Nobel Prize in atmospheric science, is credited (along with Eugene Stoermer) with introducing the concept of the Anthropocene and advocating its adoption by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), which is responsible for naming and dating geologic periods, eras, and epochs.
In view of the glacial pace of geologic events and the time it takes for things to turn into rock or become encased in it, you might think there would be no hurry to name a new geologic epoch, especially because the current one, the Holocene, started only about 11,500 years ago. You would be wrong. In 2002, Crutzen published an article in Nature magazine, “Geology of Mankind,” which called on geologists “to assign the term ‘Anthropocene’ to the present, in many ways human-dominated, geological epoch, supplementing the Holocene — the warm period of the past 10–12 millennia” and the beginning of which roughly coincided with the advent of human agriculture.2The idea of the Anthropocene, which Earth system scientists initiated and advocated, landed like a meteor, setting off a stampede among academics. Nature followed with an editorial that urged that the Anthropocene be added to the geologic timescale. “The first step is to recognize,” Nature editorialized, “that we are in the driver’s seat.”3
In response to the clamor, the ICS convened an eclectic Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), including Crutzen and many other Earth system scientists, to present a recommendation. The working group struggled to agree on a demarcation between the Anthropocene and the current Holocene: for example, the Columbian Exchange, the industrial revolution, or the detonation of the first atomic device. But the outcome of AWG deliberations — to declare a new epoch pour rendre hommage à l’Homme — was never in doubt. “We’re not so puny, after all,” one climate scientist remarked. “We are becoming players in geologic time.”4
If the ICS declares the Anthropocene as a new epoch, it will reverse at one stroke three great humiliations science has inflicted on humanity. First, it will restore humanity to the self-importance it knew when people believed that the Earth and humanity were created at about the same time. The Anthropocene, as Erle Ellis and colleagues have written, “will divide Earth’s story into two parts: one in which humans are a geological superpower — an epoch called the Anthropocene — and the other encompassing all that came before our species had a major influence on Earth’s functioning.”5
Second, it will redress the humiliation imposed by Darwin, who saw humanity as a minor twig on the tree of life, by recognizing Homo sapiens as a colossus so powerful that it is relocating tens of thousands of species and causing as many extinctions as the world has ever known. Third, it will return the Earth to its Ptolemaic position. Ancient astronomers thought of the cosmos as an orderly system that revolved around the Earth, which they saw as tempestuous, turbulent, intemperate, violent, ferocious, and capricious. Earth system science turns the Earth into the cosmos — an orderly, self-regulating system that revolves around a capricious humanity. It accomplishes a counter-Copernican revolution.6
The Anthropocene makes humanity great again.
Read the entire article here
I sent the article to our resident cartoonist, “Josh” and he was immediately on the case.
Of course, I still like his previous effort on this topic, “The Adjustoscene.”
Just a short note to readers- Josh has done hundreds of climate related cartoons over the years, and never charged me a dime for them. He’s advanced our viewpoints via humor, and for that we owe him a debt of gratitude. I suggest you buy him lunch or a beer, by going here to his tip jar.
PayPal or credit card accepted.
NOTE: The cartoon has been updated to correct a grammar error “Whose” is now correctly “Who’s”.