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09/08/2016

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dmf

http://www.e-flux.com/journal/tentacular-thinking-anthropocene-capitalocene-chthulucene/

David Laskaris

“In a sense we are like fruit flies, which live but a few weeks and cannot experience most seasonal changes, much less a year. We cannot know from experience the history of the planet Earth. Most of it is destined to be as abstract to the layperson as the dimensions of the universe.”
~~Paul Martin, 'Twilight of the Mammoths'

In my humble opinion, the Anthropocene began long before our deep ancestors began the process of agriculture. As they (we?) began the long slog out of the African continent and encountered the megafauna that did not evolve alongside of us, we -through our hunting practices- pushed them into extinction. Whenever we moved to a new region, within a thousand or two years (a blip of geologic time) the magafauna in that area was stressed to the point that they died off.

To say that the Anthropocene began with the advent of the nuclear bomb is quite foolish and delusional. Doing so indicates a complete denial of our long storied history of high exploitation of Earth and its systems. To be sure, that exploitation has grown exponentially in the last century or two or three, but still, it's a continuation of a long process in the growth of mankind's delusional belief in his supremacy over and separation from the natural world.

It's just what we do.

Starstruck

@dmf

What a wonderfully delicious word salad but this rather inarticulate drunken redneck didn't detect much new there. We have to change the way we think, behave and appreciate life on this planet but as Dave continually shows with evidence it ain't happening, in fact it's quite the opposite.

Academics seem to think that saying the same thing in increasingly clever ways is doing something, though I just read the same sort of self referential gyrations that seem to serve only their masturbatory amusement.

In any case, I'll read it again 'cause it was fun.

Jim

It's more psychologically palatable to distract oneself with defining the start time of the Anthropocene, and to seek scientific glory by arguing most persuasively about its beginning, than it is to study or discuss the import and scope of what the Anthropocene means.

'Wildlife farming' - sweet. So, we've slaughtered over half of the Earth's wildlife since 1970, and we're runnin' out of wild critters. We need to farm them!

Again, it's part and parcel with the Mars colonization idea. We know that our behavior is destructive and can't last forever, but we also know implicitly that we can't stop ourselves, so instead of doing that, we seek new and exciting ways to continue our behavior.

Pass the flying fox meat, please! BTW, that was in the news not too long ago:
http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-algal-blooms-alzheimers-brain-changes-20160119-story.html

Mike H

'Wildlife farming' now there is a classic oxymoron. If we could have farmed it, husbanded it, we would have done so many many thousands of years ago, the reason we did not is because we cannot. Case in point, the Zebra is part of the horse family but has defied all attempts by humans to domesticate it and to use it like we have the horse and if you want to see how humans care for horses look at the horse business today and over the past century. The same goes for ocean fish species, just like the examples above, so called farming only exists by restocking base stock from the wild so it is a zero sum game. Bottom line and this what the so called wildlife farming represents to me is - the predeliction of some societies to eat everything and anything, a condition brought about by past deprivation and hunger and we will do that to the very end, even cockroaches will be fair game.

The point you made so succinctly above in your post Dave was, what Geologists?, is correct. Our supreme hubris is matched by our flatland world view. Now lets see if the math is right here it took 3.5 billion years for homo sapiens to work their way up via adaption and change to be humans from the single cellular life form that started it all, if we became extinct tomorrow it is going to take another 3.5 billion years for something similar to happen, if it did, work out the probability on that! Now it seems to me there is problem with that seems that in another 3.5 billion the sun will be on its own path to final extinction and becoming a red dwarf end of everything in this solar system, period.

Mike Roberts

Thanks for continuing to document the tragedy that is human behaviour, Dave. It's painful reading but so necessary.

And now the Guardian is reporting that humans have destroyed a tenth of the wilderness in the last 25 years. It will go on until it can't.

Brian

Instinctively, humans have always been humans, doing what humans do. So, realistically, the die was cast when humans evolved to the point of their current innate behaviors (a long freakin' time ago!).

I suppose one might have a theoretical argument about when humans reached the point of no return and whether that point best represents the start of the Anthropocene. Maybe when humans proved clever enough to harness the stored power of fossilized sunlight. Perhaps that was the point where the environmental limitations to human impact were overcome, allowing humans to move beyond being locally destructive and disruptive to being globally so.

In the end, it is a theoretical argument. Humans do what they do, and they will do so until they no longer can. Human evolution has been outpaced by human impact. What you see is what you get. And, therein lies the rub...

Lidia17

@Mike.. it can go on forever, since there will always be 90% left!

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