“There have been many planet Earths” says astrophysicist Adam Frank who talks about climate change from an astrobiological lens. Frank’s observation mirrors author Peter Brannen’s lens in that if 100 million years of Earth’s geological history, a span almost 10 times as long as all of recorded human history, can easily wear the Himalayas flat, what chance will San Francisco or New York have of surviving a new geological epoch of our own making: the Anthropocene.
The human experience on our Pale Blue Dot “has lasted for less than 10 one-billionths of cosmic history surrounded by vast lifeless space, and yet we are congratulating ourselves on an unearned geological legacy before we’ve proved ourselves capable of escaping the next century with our lives,” says mass-extinction authority, Peter Brannen, author of The Ends of the World. “Human history, though environmentally cataclysmic and sedimentologically interesting, is not usefully described in the terms of a geological epoch on par with a yawning span of time like the Early Cretaceous, an epoch that lasted 600,000 times longer than this newly minted one.”
“These materials are a product of what we have put into the atmosphere. This is just showing that our nuclear legacy hasn’t disappeared yet. It’s still there,” said Caroline Clason, a lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Plymouth of a study published in Nature that surveyed 19,000 of Earth’s glaciers and found their total melt amounts to a loss of 335 billion tons of ice each year, more than measurements of previous studies.
“Not so long ago, the very nature of planet Earth suffered a devastating rupture,” writes ” writes Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic, about our emerging Anthropocene epoch. “The break was sudden, global, and irreversible. It happened in the year 1950. Mick Jagger, Meryl Streep, and Caitlyn Jenner were all born before this crack in time. Vladimir Putin, Liam Neeson, and Mr. T were all born after it.”