August 31, 2012

NEWS: People, Pollution & Plastics

While I ponder the possibilities of a separate Quebec and watch the radical mud-slinging south of the border, I struggle with my own internal politics. The conservative in me wants to be calm and mindful, eager to not hurt or be hurt; the liberal in me wants to shout out loud and make a lot of noise about freedom and human rights. The socialist is busy gathering everyone else's opinions, and the individualist is packing her bags, ready to relocate to Mars. It'll be a long trip, but the lack of humanity makes it very attractive.

Here's something to consider: Scientists and geologists are now debating whether or not we (the planet) can officially call this the Anthropocene Era, predecessor of our collective demise. It's complicated - you can read more about it here on Wikipedia - but in simple terms, it means that we are now in the final phase of our species' evolutionary scale, which is pretty much the moment of self-extermination. Of course, it could be a long moment, so we'll have plenty of time to adapt. We're very good at adapting.

The labelling of an "era" is scientifically determined on fact-based evidence that we have altered the planet beyond a point from which there is no returning. Have humans altered the future of the planet with our actions and influence? If yes, then we are in the Anthropocene Era. If not, we can breathe a sigh of relief and rest on our laurels, still contentedly in the Holocene Era (rough translation = "in between glaciers").

A few simple truths seem to support that we are now in the Anthropocene Era, including marine biology, shifting sea levels, altered rain and drought patterns, and a growing awareness of new and "extreme" weather patterns that are predictably going to get a lot worse. And if you are still full of doubt that anything is changing, have you seen the population figures? That's one impressive jump in the last millennium.  How can we not be having an impact? [ Confucius say: Crowded elevator smell different to midget ]

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