Many Names of the Anthropocene

Maslin’s discussion of the Anthropocene covers the formalities of officially naming a new epoch where humans are a significant geologic force the Anthropocene. He agrees that recent changes warrant the establishment of a new Epoch. The challenge is how to formally define what the Anthropocene as a section of geologic time. Maslin describes how Geologic time is categorized, and how the Anthropocene may be categorized if it can be argued that the new epoch is adheres to the norms that define an epoch. Additionally, if the Anthropocene is going to be formally recognized as a new epoch, a date will need to be chosen. The current proposed dates are 1778, 1800, 1945, and post-1950, however some argue that GSSA’s are not appropriate to define the Anthropocene epoch. An important aspect of choosing one of these dates is ensuring the effects are globally synchronous. 

Maslin also covers why defining the Anthropocene is important and what may happen if it established. He argues that “embracing the Anthropocene reverses 500 years of scientific discoveries.” Recognizing the Anthropocene would also allow us to begin to improve our relationship with the earth. I feel that this criticism lacks enough focus on potential negative social effects of recognizing it. While I think that there would be benefits of recognizing the Anthropocene as a new epoch, it is important to discuss how the public might negatively react as well as positively react in order to properly address these reactions. In addition, the author briefly discusses other terms for the Anthropocene but leaves out Plantationocene which I have seen discussed equally as Chthulucene or Capitalocene.

Considering the Anthropocene is important to my research on how artists engage in activism by creating worlds because many of the worlds created are addressing the ecological and social events that have lead us to the anthropocene. Many are set in future utopias or dystopias that have been dramatically altered by anthropogenic forces. Therefore it is important for me to be familiar with the formal bureaucratic and geologic perspectives on the Anthropocene as well as the social and political facets of it as I conduct and discuss my research.

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