Are we facing the Anthropocene epoch?
Has the influence and domination of mankind over land, sea and air herald a new epoch, an epoch defined by the behaviour and effect of mankind towards planet Earth? Does the footprint of mankind warrant a new epoch, the Anthropocene epoch? What does the word mean?
The Day, New to open minds (2014) says:
“Anthropocene is made up of the Greek word ‘anthropos’ for human, and ‘cene’ meaning new or recent. The term was popularised by Paul Crutzen, a Dutch chemist and Nobel Prize winner, in 2000.”
We are in the midst of something as gruesome and terrible as it is unprecedented. Life as we know it is beginning to die. The bees, trees, plants, insects, fish. All these populations are plummeting. Life as we know it is changing. The future will be characterised by vastly smaller numbers of all wildlife residing in isolated pockets of stability. We are creating a more desolate, empty, and barren world.
There are two indisputable truths in respect of mankind’s past and possible future. The first undeniable truth: Economic growth has brought with it many issues including pollution and destruction of natural habitats, both sea and land. The second undeniable truth: mankind, as a collective species, must act together and in concert to enable a change in polluting, rubbishing and destructive behaviour. Only mankind can define its future as our technological and economic growth continues on the ‘feedbag’ of Mother Earth.
Our shared planet is the succulent of mankind and all other species. All past prosperity was enabled by the abundant yet scare resources of our shared planet. The idea that our globe can continue to be rubbished and polluted, seeing species of flora and fauna vanish from the living record is absurd. What is also clear, is mankind must work together, with the view of sustainable development without a wanton disregard for our shared resources, even if these resources are not defined by the property of a single geographical area and political authority. It is because of the old global government models of ownership and not shared global responsibility that new collaborative and co-operative approaches offer the best way forward, seeing and recognising a change in humanities will to fix and heal our bruised planet.
Johan Rockström, Jørgen Randers, and Per Espen Stoknes (Eco-Business, 22 October 2018 & Project-Syndicate.Org) identified a number of critical issues requiring ‘transformational change’ in an effort to ensure sustainable human wellbeing into the future and in time to make a meaningful and timely difference. The five areas the authors defined such change is particularly important are:
• In line with the IPCC’s recent report, exponential growth in renewable energy is needed to enable the world to halve total emissions every decade from 2020.
• Sustainable food production must be boosted substantially. Feeding almost 10 billion people by 2050 will require a radical overhaul of existing food systems, with an additional 1 per cent in sustainable intensification each year.
• Developing countries need new development models, following examples like China, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and South Korea, with a strong emphasis on sustainability.
• The world must drastically reduce inequality, ensuring that the richest 10 per cent capture no more than 40 per cent of total income.
• Finally, we must stabilise the global population by making huge investments in universal education, gender equality, health care, and family planning.
The environment4change Team are building a digital platform of collaboration and co-operation around an enlarged opportunity and access model of participation and global community. Our digital toolset will enable and empower new models of environmental participation in all its new forms, yet undefined. Our global network will support and grow local opportunities around the world. Our global fund will ignore traditional geographical and political boundaries for the betterment of the planet as a whole. We have seen and recognised the need and impetus for change. We offer new models of participation and collaboration offering and building new economies of scale that will affect the change required to clean our planet and its waterways, as we can all, as a global community, be involved.