For the past 10,000-odd years, Earth’s climate has been relatively stable and easy for human life to thrive in. This geological epoch is known as the Holocene. Many scientists, however, feel as though the Holocene is coming to an end, and that we are entering a new epoch where human beings are becoming the major drivers of planetary evolution. This new epoch has been coined the Anthropocene.
The Anthropocene concept acknowledges the significant changes humans have had on the earth’s ecosystems. These changes include, but are not limited to:
- Massive alteration of land use (agriculture, urbanization, deforestation, mining, landfills, etc.)
- Changes to atmospheric composition (CO2, aerosols/particulates, ozone-depleting substances, etc.),
- Water diversion (irrigation, use of groundwater, water contamination, etc.)
- Loss of biodiversity (extreme increase in species extinction)
One could argue that since humans evolved on Earth, any anthropogenic changes to Earth are natural. That notwithstanding, these changes have the potential to rapidly alter the biosphere to become less habitable for all life on this planet. Preserving self-sufficient ecosystems on Earth is imperative to the continued success of our species. Although we may feel separate, in reality human survival is inseperable from the environments we occupy.
Modern humans typically consume non-renewable resources with abandon. This has increased our quality of life immensely, but has also put the sustained success of our species at risk. Resource scarcity is a real threat to our collective future, with the focus of this scarcity being the master resource: energy. With enough easily-accessible and potent sources of energy, almost anything is possible. It is the extraction and use of this resource that has been the cause of Earth entering the Anthropocene.
Earth’s environment and the human use of energy are now inexorably linked. There is no turning back. Human quality of life must be sustained, but our impact must also be sustainable. Only altering our behaviours and using innovative ideas will advance humanity to a sustainable future; a Sustainable Balance.This group of categories “Energy and Environment”, is composed of the following categories: Energy, Environmental Science, Urban Planning, and Gardening.
- Energy – Posts on sources of energy, impacts of the energy industry, and energy efficiency
- Environmental Science – Posts on the science behind how the environment functions and the human impact on it
- Urban Planning – Posts on the design of urban environments to create healthy, safe, and sustainable living spaces for dense populations
- Gardening – Posts on new and innovative ways to grow the food that enhance our lives
Featured photo courtesy of Benoit Theodore.