Holocene, Sicily, Five Ten Fifteen Million Years discussed on TED Radio Hour

TED Radio Hour


Holocene has to do with the extinction of a snail species in sicily that really yeah wow just one they have to find a yeah they have to find a marker wow so other geologists can say will there it is there's the snail there's not the snail that's one we set the boundary humans here's your age of snail died in italy right yeah but here's the thing a lot has changed since that snail died in italy we humans have made our presence felt on the planet more than any other species in earth's history and what that means for our future isn't yet clear and so it was winston churchill who said the further back you look the further ahead you can see and so if we want to know how the earth's biosphere is going to respond to the things that humans are doing to the planet right now the only evidence that we have is is how biotic systems have responded in the past and based on the past several million years we know the earth goes through natural cycles of cooling in fact twenty thousand years ago most of north america was covered in a giant ice sheet might have been a mile or more high at the north pole that extended all the way down to east brunswick new jersey or the lehigh valley in pennsylvania or deep down into illinois in the mid west just south of that where southern new jersey is that was tundra and based on that passed we know that the earth it should be getting cooler right about now but it's not it's getting warmer and the divergence between where we know we ought to be and where we're going we can attribute that to the human influence that we're having on the climate and for that reason some scientists have proposed thinking about our place in geological history differently that the world today is a lot different than it was when that snail died in italy in that we need a new term for a new epoch the anthroposophic the anthropology in essentially would be the time of human influence on the planet this controversial though because geology is a retrospective discipline the the rocks of the postseason haven't been deposited yet really but at the same time i think it's a real really useful tool in the same way that we would discuss the the iron age or the bronze age certainly we have entered into a new age on our planet we're changing things in many cases in irreparable ways and that will certainly be recorded in the geological record there's no doubt if you could go five ten fifteen million years into the future and dig down to two thousand sixteen you would be able to find the geological evidence that humans occupied the planet so today on the show the anthropic seen ideas about a new human age in age that's changing our planet in unprecedented ways and what that might mean for our future chem like var returns later with the story of one dinosaur that reveals a lot about where we're headed but first how should we relate to the idea the anthrax seen right now can we just can we just clarify this anthropic seen or enthroned or anthroposophic anthro passing i i've heard that it's a us uk difference this is emma marras she's a writer and she's covered nature and the environment for years when you say i guess i say anthrocene now you do and throw pasino my interviews am i gonna sound like a pompous jerk you know what it's possible that either version makes us sound like posture okay all right however you say it emma believes the world is full of signs that were living in the anthroposophic no matter where you are no matter what you're looking at no matter how many days you spent hiking away from the road you're still in a landscape that was shaped by humans because of climate change every place on earth has more carbon dioxide in it than it used to the sort of influence of humans is everywhere even in places we think of as untouched emma picks up the idea from the ted stage places like yellowstone or the mongolian staff or the great barrier reef for the seren getty places that we think of as kind of identified representations of a nature before we screwed everything up and in a way they are less impacted by our day to.

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