Living and Dying in the Anthropocene
By admin December 21, 2016

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Climate change news is something we come across nearly every day. Many of us are painstakingly aware that the ocean level is expanding and the planet is becoming drier. Many issues arise from climate change including food security and overcrowding in addition to the changes in the weather. So have people permanently changed the planet? Geological scientists study epochs in time and since the early 1980’s, or early 2000s by other accounts, we have entered the era called the ‘anthropocene’, which is defined as the ‘era of humans’.

While many opinions, reports, and bouts of counter information on climate change statistics exist, by conservative accounts, in one hundred years the temperature will have risen 7 degrees, nearly four times the amount that is sustainable for life. This fact alters the physical landscape of everything we know. From agriculture to human, animal and plant life, survival in the world we know today is unrecognizably different. Erecting concrete walls to keep the ocean from flooding major world capitals and cities is only a temporary fix to the larger issue. Flooding is a subsidiary consequence of the larger changes that have already begun.

Some of the most affected parts of the Earth are centralized in Africa where just in the next four years, between 75-250 million people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change. This fact has major effects on agriculture as well as available land for not only farming, but also living. Before the end of the 21st century, the sea level is expected to rise enough to damage low-lying coastal areas with significant populations. This not only has human consequences, but the cost of adapting to “living in the anthropocene” just as it is concerned in Africa means a cost of 5-10% of GDP (Summary for Policy Makers, IPCC, 2007).

We can only be told, advised, coaxed, educated on how our everyday habits are precipitating this larger catastrophic change. At the expense of sounding fatalist, or coming off as a realist, perhaps it is time to study how we will live in the world that is already altered in a way that cannot be reversed. While we will face deaths due to a variety of factors, our generation, and the next will face death due to the affects of irreversible climate change as an aggregate. We will learn to die as a civilization, not merely as individuals. Becoming more prepared for the changes that have already begun is not pessimistic, it is preemptory and albeit necessary. Being prepared, truly prepared, rather than living in denial or focusing on changes such as driving hybrids or turning off the lights when we leave a room is what is needed of us.

Read More:

What is the Anthropocene?

Have Humans Altered the Planet Forever?

Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene

Roy Scranton: Lessons on the Anthropocene

Thanks for sharing !

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