Friday, 3 April 2015

columbian exchange

A pairing of thoughtful articles from Vox and Æon magazines present some really interesting insights and unresolved questions about ushering in the Anthropocene epoch.
There are many contenders for when the handiwork of man might have outstripped, outpaced geological change, from the nebulous reaches of time when early humans first hunted giant mammals to extinction—although the Holocene Age (Greek for wholly new) seems to me to include the rise of man, the landing of the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria that introduced global trade and New World transplants to the Old, a point in 1610 when green-house gases began an uptick due to land-management practice, the Industrial Revolution, the atomic bomb, to the nuclear winter of 1964. While it is an arbitrary distinction to some extent and many researchers will continue to champion their favourites in terms of delineation once—if a consensus is reached, what’s nearly as significant as the change that man is imparting on the environment is that we’re adverse, maybe unable to recognise or reconcile is when and how man became estranged from Nature—fancied as no longer of Nature but rather Nature was made man’s ward, with us as not very fit caretakers. What do you think? For all the eons that have gone before, is this debate a reasonable one?  It can nonetheless become a helpful one, I believe.