“How it took just one generation to stuff the planet”



Mark down this date: Monday, July 16, 1945 – the day that the first atomic bomb was detonated in the New Mexico desert.

It is also the geological marker of the start of the “Great Acceleration” – when mad-made activities began to take over from natural variability with such force that it has taken the human race just one generation to pretty much “stuff the planet.”

Welcome to the Anthropocene. Such geological epochs are normally measured in the thousands of years, but scientists have been able to narrow it down the switch from the Holocene to the Anthropocene to a single day because the radioactive isotopes emitted to the atmosphere and spread worldwide by that detonation have entered the sedimentary record. That has provided a unique signal.

Since then, humanity has altered the planet to such a degree (well, nearly 0.85C in fact) that Earth’s natural systems have been pushed beyond natural variability and now risk being destabilized – all in a single lifetime.


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About isabellew9873

My name is Isabelle Whitehead. I was a member of the Bolton School group on the Operation Wallacea 2015 expedition to Peru.

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