In a recently published study a research team argues that we currently live in a man-made geological epoch which has brought unprecedented changes to our entire planet. The group of scientists has been arguing that we recently entered a new geological era called the Anthropocene for more than six years.
According to the recent study, in the past 75 years, humans managed to virtually change the face of the Earth. Study authors wrote in their research paper that humans and their actions such as overpopulation, pollution, agriculture, and use of resources have left a ‘persistent signature’ on the planet.
The research paper is not a death sentence but it brings some solid arguments to back the Anthropocene hypothesis.
Among the unprecedented changes we have brought to our world is pollution and turning the planet into a global dumpster. Nowadays, there are more materials and substances that humans use in their daily activity than in any other epoch we have knowledge of.
For instance, we have pesticides to keep crops safe from pests, about 300 million tons of plastic materials are produced each passing year; our seas, oceans and rivers are filled with tiny pieces of plastic, and so are fish, birds and other animals that live there. The entire planet is now coated in a layer of polymers, which could provide a hint to future generations that we have been here as authors of a new geological era.
Additionally, we altered the face of the Earth in irreversible ways. Our cities, crops, man-made structures in the middle of nowhere altered the planetary surface. Mining also displaces three times more soil than nature would normally do in one year.
Furthermore, the atomic bomb, hydrogen bombs and other arsenals have changed the Earth. Radioactive leaks from nuclear plants is also a sign that we live in a totally different geological epoch. When future geologists that may try to get a grasp of our planet’s geological history will conduct fieldwork they will see changes like in no other geological layers.
For example, nuclear tests between the 1950s and 1960s imbued the planet with radioactivity that may be detected hundreds of thousands of years from now on. For instance, plutonium needs at least 100,000 years to decay to uranium and other particles.
Another hint that we may live in a human-made era is our problem with carbon dioxide. CO2 concentration has reached in our times levels that were impossible to imagine thousands of years ago.
Additionally, global sea level is now higher than ever and it continues to rise.
Image Source: Flickr
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