Real quick, kittens:
The International Commission on Stratigraphy’s Anthropocene Working Group has met face-to-face for the first time, as reported in an efficient article by Andrew Revkin. Interestingly, fittingly, they use population growth and resource consumption as their metrics for this judgement – many academics in the humanities are interested in even more abstracted tacts (see Chakrabarty et. al. ). Personally, without any real qualifications to assert myself in this conversation, I think the term has almost already done its geopolitical damage but don’t think we should use that as a reason to re-lable our (humans’) era, if we have an era. As Cambridge Geologist Paul Campbell asserts, “We are living in an interglacial period and there’s no question we’re still within that period, and it’s called the holocene.” I, at this point, buy it.
Another point of interest: the Working Group has received some critical attention for its very white, Western and male composition. (The “manthropocene” is a term so ridiculous in so many ways that I snorted water out my nose when I read it.) The Working Group has responded. Poking into this a bit, there seems to be a bit of feminist literature on the anthropocene…why, in particular? I’ll report back when I know.
Your Secret Pseudo-Academic