A short video that will be helpful if it is new to you is below:
I’ve been tracking ideas like this since I picked up a copy of McKibben’s The End of Nature in the Seattle Greenpeace office in 1993 and sat in on Mitch Thomashow’s Global Climate Change course at Antioch New England way back in 1998 (climate change, what’s that?)
Australian Lesley Head, one of the keynote speakers at the symposium this week, differentiated between what she called the “geological anthroprocene” and the “#anthroprocene” (i.e., “hashtag anthroprocene”) the cultural meme and idea of humans changing the planet. I thought that was a really good distinction. There is some complex and evidence based physical science at play here (I don’t see people arguing about whether there was a Pleistocene era). And, then there is the politicized idea of human caused geophysical and climactic change (dig in here.).
The Anthropocene is in the news, as the International Commission on Stratigraphy — the same folks who brought you the Pleistocene and the Holocene, and may bring you the geological anthropocene — will be meeting soon to discuss the new term, and have until 2016 to make a decision on ratification. So, your children may be seeing it in their geology textbooks.