Monday, 29 August 2016

How to make sure the Anthropocene era does not become our last

Scientists have recently declared that the Holocene era, where all settled agricultural and later industrial human civilisation developed, has given way to the Anthropocene era due to the fact human impacts have left a permanent mark on Earth: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/29/declare-anthropocene-epoch-experts-urge-geological-congress-human-impact-earth

Worse still, there is evidence to suggest that with pollution levels already past 400 ppm, with potentially as much as 75% of all Earth species set to become extinct by 2300, with critical Arctic ice melting more rapidly than ever before, this era could possibly be the Earth's last.

So what do we all need to do fundamentally to make sure this era is not the last? Three key examples:

1. Phase out any use of crude oil-based products. This is not only important in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also for preventing any further pollution of our oceans by plastics and plastic-based products, which are invariably derived from crude oil and other harmful chemicals. A recent call for the banning of microbeads (and not just by the Green Party) is a key step forward in this regard. All of these can be replaced with natural, environmentally friendly things.

2. Try and achieve a more balanced diet systematically even if we do not entirely phase out meat eating. Industrial meat production is the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions even if it is one of a number of significant emitters; the soil degradation and loss of crops caused by overproduction of meat and the chemicals involved in the process is also a serious problem worldwide. Overfishing and fishing using large and indiscriminate nets is also a substantial contributor to environmental damage and animal cruelty.

3. Bring about systematic change and achieve the green transition in the long-term. Our fundamental economic and social system bears strong responsibility for causing this era to be dubbed the Anthropocene era in the first place, because of its reliance on values that recklessly cause damage to our planet and our environment no matter how good other intentions might be; these include continuous growth, consumption, and greed. This is an international problem which we must solve from the grassroots, but we can do it if we work together and not let our differences divide us. The green transition needs to involve a recognition and acceptance of the fact we have limited resources which we must share fairly, that we all fare better if we are in commune with our planet rather than constantly trying to exploit it, that we must find balances in life, and that future generations matter as well as present generations.

There are of course other things we must do for survival through the Anthropocene Era, but it is definitely possible to learn from our past mistakes and make sure we prosper rather than fall.

1 comment:

  1. Guess we have work to do.

    ReplyDelete