The Era of Catastrophe

Mike Davis is the planet’s coolest doom prophet. From City of Quartz to Ecology of Fear and beyond, he’s pondered various strains of the End Times. And now the the Holocene Extiction Event has hit critical mass, the posthuman future is starting to demand its own terminology. Hence, the Anthropocene.

The Era of Catastrophe? Geologists Name New Era After Human Influence on the Planet
Our world, our old world that we have inhabited for the last 12,000 years, has ended, even if no newspaper in North America or Europe has yet printed its scientific obituary.

This February, while cranes were hoisting cladding to the 141st floor of the Burj Dubai tower (which will soon be twice the height of the Empire State Building), the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London was adding the newest and highest story to the geological column. Although the idea of the “Anthropocene” — an Earth epoch defined by the emergence of urban-industrial society as a geological force — has been long debated, stratigraphers have refused to acknowledge compelling evidence for its advent.

At least for the London Society, that position has now been revised. This new age, they explain, is defined both by the heating trend … and by the radical instability expected of future environments. In somber prose, they warn that “the combination of extinctions, global species migrations and the widespread replacement of natural vegetation with agricultural monocultures is producing a distinctive contemporary biostratigraphic signal. These effects are permanent, as future evolution will take place from surviving (and frequently anthropogenically relocated) stocks.” Evolution itself, in other words, has been forced into a new trajectory. MORE @ ALTERNET

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