The Anthropo-scene

World According to Court logo

The Anthropocene describes a geological epoch when people’s activities have a significant impact on the planet and its ecosystems.

The anthropo-scene consists of my views on what is happening as people and cultures adapt to the current and future social and environmental scene.

My perspective is as a cultural anthropologist. I came to Oregon State University’s anthropology department in 1969, after earning a Ph.D. at the University of Arizona.

Climate Outlook

The June 24 issue of Science Magazine in “A Choice of Futures” summarizes our climate mitigation and adaptation situation. The general summary is, “The available evidence does not yet indicate that the world has seriously committed to achieving the 1.5⁰C goal” (p. 1403). The actions needed—“decarbonization of energy grids, widespread electrification (e.g., heat pumps and electric vehicles), lifestyle changes (home energy conservation, diet shifts, and changes to travel patterns); efficiency improvements (e.g., home retrofits), reforestation, and the shuttering of unabated coal power plants” (p. 1408), are well known. Individuals and groups need to demand that government and industry get serious about introducing mitigating and adaptation actions to achieve “cuts to GHG emissions across all sectors of the economy” (p. 1415 ).

As the graph below shows, the need is urgent to “enable adaptation of species and ecosystems to the shifting and unpredictable Anthropocene” (p. 1426). You’ve heard all these words before–where are the actions and what have been the outcomes?

Fig. 1. Global temperature and atmospheric CO2 change.
Observed global temperature has increased by >1.2°C since the 1850 to 1900 baseline period (thin beige line; monthly temperature observations). Virtually all of this increase can be attributed to anthropogenic drivers (red line). The observed atmospheric CO2 increase (blue line) is the primary driver of anthropogenic global warming.
Science, June 24, 2022, p.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email