The Age of Mankind | The New geological age: The Anthropocene

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German explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was one of the first to see how everything in an ecosystem is connected. Von Humboldt introduced the idea of ​​the Earth as a living organism in Western thinking, which eventually became the basis for the later environmental movement. Geologists from now see the impact of mankind at an increasing pace: climate warming, plastic soup, nuclear fallout, a disturbed water supply through erosion and tar sands, higher CO2 concentrations and diminishing biodiversity. During the last century, the influence of mankind on our Earth and atmosphere has become so great that it is judged by some scientists to be irreversible. To name this influence, a group of geologists recently proposed to date the Anthropocene back to 1950, with the exponential growth of the fossil economy. But earlier it was also discussed that the beginning of the industrial revolution was the starting point, or the first forms of agriculture or even the first mining in the Stone Age. The influence of mankind on the Earth is so great that next generations will be able to see it back in the Earth’s layers over hundreds of thousands of years. But if mankind really creates its own geological period, how can we deal with it in an adult way without reliance on a naive belief such as the self-solving ability of God or nature? How can mankind take responsibility and benefit from its influence? We are also finding solutions for climate change and depletion of our mineral resources here on Earth: from the cultivation of cucumbers in the desert, the mining of platinum into the space to the regreening of eroded land. Are these breakthrough just a bandaid on an hemorrhage or can mankind shape the Anthropocene by means of technological intervention so that we meet a viable future?









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