The Anthropocene Debate – The Age of Man Messing Stuff Up

Scientists this week at the Geological Society of America Conference are debating whether we’ve entered a new epoch.  For the last 10,000 years we’ve been hanging around the Holocene epoch and pretty much jacking the place up.

They’d like to call this new epoch the Anthropocene, or the Age of Man, because of the geophysical changes mankind has wrought upon the Earth.  Ain’t that just like man to mess something up and then name something after himself.  Cows are probably going, “Hey, we’re the big methane producers here!  Why not the Mooocene (pronounced moo-o-cene) Epoch?”  Or Mooocene could be a new medication for hoof and mouth disease.

So how do they figure out what epoch is what?  When they bust open some rocks on cliffs in the middle of nowhere (because decorative garden boulders in the suburbs don’t yield good info), they look for stripes.  Yep, thousands of years of climate change, volcanoes, glaciers, and asteroid impacts gives us a stripe in the rocks.  You could take some colored sharpies out to the desert and mess up geologists for centuries.

And it’s horizontal stripes, which makes the rocks look much bigger than they really are.  What not to wears, rocks… what not to wear….

Of course we don’t know what our Anthropocene stripe will look like yet.  But I’m going to guess it will be made up of discarded and fossilized Wii Fit boards, iPhone 4’s, and bits of the Olsen Twins.

But hey, now that we’re into this one, we can start planning for the next epoch… The Zombicene, in which the new stripe will be made of up of leftover pieces of you that the zombies couldn’t eat.  Hey, it’s just as logical as the whole Kraken non-debate happening now…

Phil Johnson

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