Pretty soon you may well start hearing about the ‘Anthropocene’, because next year scientists are to due to begin deliberations on whether or not we have entered a new geological climate epoch entirely of our own making. If it is accepted, it will bring a premature end to the Holocene, which began some 12,000 years ago and should have persisted for another 20,000. It will also make the epoch the laughing stock for evermore, given that its Greek meaning translates as ‘entirely recent’. Will Steffen, who heads Australia National University’s Climate Change Institute and earlier this month spoke at the Environmental Defence Society conference in Auckland, believes the epoch’s official kick-off should be back-dated to the beginning of the industrial revolution or, failing that, the atomic age of post World War Two.
“Either way,” he says, “it will be a strong reminder to the general public that we are now having undeniable impacts on the environment.”
We may be powerless to do much about the earth’s new classification, but we can still vote for the political party who is going to do something about it.
To get a good idea of which political party is doing what, be sure to check out the (non-partisan) Great Climate Voter Debate taking place on September 3 at 6pm. It is on in Auckland, but will also be live-streamed on TV3’s website. And, if you’re of the opinion that the climate is important, vote accordingly.