James Rus­sell

El­e­ment ed­i­tor

Element - - Contents -

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.

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