some reflections on the event of the brand new GSSP proposal — Extinct

But when there’s a lesson to be drawn from deep time, perhaps it’s this. The top of the world continues to be a great distance off, and till then Earth will carry on biking with all its issues and latent prospects. This isn’t to decrease the severity of our scenario, which is grave certainly. It’s slightly to level out that the Anthropocene just isn’t a end result or a rupture a lot as it’s a scenario. It’s the furrow that humanity has plowed on the face of deep time, and for all its issues it stays our “transient current”—our distinctive location in geohistory. The Anthropocene is the air we breathe, the gas we burn, the injustices we tolerate. It doesn’t stand to historical past, then, as dying stands to life. As a substitute, it’s merely our scenario, and our problem is to alter it. As Purdy writes,

For all of the speak of disaster that swirls across the Anthropocene, it’s unlikely {that a} altering Earth will really feel catastrophic or apocalyptic. Some environmentalists nonetheless warn of apocalypse to encourage could-be, should-be activists; however geologic time stays far slower than political time, even when human powers add a wobble to the planet. As a substitute, the Anthropocene shall be like at the moment, solely extra so: many methods, from climate to soil to your native ecosystem, shall be in a slow-perennial disaster. And the place apocalyptic change is a rupture in time, a sluggish disaster feels regular. (Purdy 2015)

“Like at the moment, solely extra so”; “a slow-perennial disaster”—that is what it means to view the Anthropocene as a scenario, and a duty. To treat it as the tip of the world is an exculpatory concept we are able to scarcely afford.

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