It’s Not Officially the Anthropocene but Humans Have Changed the Planet


Here are some of the planet-spanning changes they considered.

A key part of the case that some scientists made for declaring the start of the Anthropocene epoch was the pulse of radioactive isotopes that hundreds of nuclear detonations scattered across the Earth in the mid-20th century. There’s zero doubt that humans are responsible for these particles, even if they end up in different places at slightly different times.

Some scholars have, however, voiced concern about whether using weapons of mass destruction to signpost humankind’s transformation of the planet would send the wrong kind of message about our time.

Fossilized life tells scientists a lot about what Earth was like in its deep past, and that will no doubt remain the case when future researchers try to study our time. Not only are we losing species at a rapid rate, we have also upended the places where they live and thrive (or fail to thrive), both by destroying their habitats or by domesticating them for agriculture and companionship.



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