The journal Environmental Science & Technology has announced the dawning of a new era, the Anthropocene Epoch. A fundamental element of this new geological epoch, scientists predict, will be the sixth mass extinction in the history of the world.
The paper is entitled, "The New World of the Anthropocene."The authors of the paper are world famous, highly regarded and include a Nobel laureate. Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams are members of the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London. Will Steffen served as Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and is now Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute. Paul Crutzen, awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for his work on atmospheric ozone, is Professor emeritus at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Mainz.
The authors summarize the paper thusly:
In this article, therefore, we outline the scale of human modification of the Earth on which the concept of the Anthropocene rests, describe the means by which geological time units are established, and discuss the particular problems and implications of discussing the Anthropocene as a formal geological time term.
Rarely does the geological community cause a stir in the popular press and mainstream media. However, this concept is the exception that proves the rule. Yesterday, Monday March 29, the Toronto Starproclaimed, "Humankind may be at the dawn of a new age, one that might not bring the word 'Aquarius' to mind." Last Friday, March 26, Science Dailyintroduced the metaphor, "The Age of Aquarius? Not quite."
The term 'Anthropocene' means the New Man Epoch. The authors argue "that recent human activity, including stunning population growth, sprawling megacities and increased use of fossil fuels, have changed the planet to such an extent that we are entering a new geological era. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have wrought such vast and unprecedented changes to our world that we actually might be ushering in a new geological time era, and changing the course of the planet's geological evolution for millions of years.