As we all know, and I used to know but since forgot and re-learned only recently, we, humans, live in the Holocene Epoch of the Quaternary Period of the Cenozoic Era. That means only that at certain point of human development scientists among our species agreed on calling it thus.
The “deciding body” is the International Geological Congress. It defines the planet’s geological timescale by dividing it into units, the longest of which are eras, then periods, then epochs and ages.
Since the mid-twentieth century, human footprint and humanity’s impact on our mother-planet has become a subject of both research and concern. Thus far, scientists and laymen alike agree that humans manifested their presence on Earth in a most profound way. Can we distinguish between man-made and natural at this time and age? Yes, we can… not without difficulty, however.
It does look like our species of mammals manged to trample and ravish the planet Earth to a degree that we can rightfully put a claim on the entire epoch.
Scientists from around the world met this week to decide whether to call time on the Holocene epoch after 11,700 years and begin a new geological age called the Anthropocene.
A group of geologists, climate scientists, ecologists and an expert in international law that have been conducting research since 2009, all met face-to-face for the first time in Berlin on Thursday and Friday to discuss the issue. (Reuters, Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of Cultures of the World))
“It is clear that, though we have differences about when it starts, it seems as a group that we were quite happy to say we are in the Anthropocene,” said Colin Waters, secretary for the working group and a geologist for the British Geological Society.
Have we, indeed, entered a new human era already — the Anthropocene — to reflect our deep impact on the planet?
We have to wait until August 2016 to know for sure. At that time, the working group must report its conclusions to the International Geological Congress. If the International Geological Congress says YES, the Anthropocene it should be, then we can get lucky and literally rather than metaphorically live in two epochs.
Until then, lets just teeter-totter on the brink of the Anthropocene.