“The Earth Will Live, But Our World Won’T”

2021-05-24   |   by CusiGO

The Pliocene, a geological age marked by the global impact of human activities, does not exist for scientists, although the evidence seems clear. The Geological Society of London has provided data to support this: human activities cause 24 times more erosion and deposition than all rivers in the world; The sea level, which has been stable for the past 7000 years, is now increasing by 0.3 meters per century, which will double in 80 years; After thousands of years of unchanging, its waters recorded an unprecedented level of acidity in a century; The concentration of carbon dioxide is the highest in the past 4 million years, more than 100 million times that caused by all the volcanoes in the world; The extinction rate doubled to 10000. Anna Maria Alonso zarza, who was born 58 years ago in vinegra de Mora NIA, director of the Spanish Institute of mining geology (igme-csic), is used to observing the earth with a clock of thousands of years per second. She warns of the impact of human activities on the earth and the possible sixth extinction.

Questions. Why didn’t the Pliocene exist geologically?

answer. The Anthropocene is not a formal term. I like to compare it to the Royal Academy of Spain. Many words are used every day, and we don’t use them informally until the college decides to include them in the dictionary. The same is true of the geological Pliocene. This is a term in use, but it is equivalent to the fact that the Royal College of geology has not yet included it in the dictionary. But it does exist, because human influence on nature means it exists. All the data show that human activities are changing the earth’s system. In fact, we are in a period when its influence is an important geological factor.

Page 1. What are the characteristics of the Pliocene?

A. Opening of the conference They have many characteristics: the increase of greenhouse gases, the rise of temperature, the rise of sea level and the disappearance rate of species, which is huge. Because of the communication system, so is the mobility of species. Many species restricted in small areas have been able to reach all over the world.

Page 1. When did it start?

A. Opening of the conference This is a sensitive issue and varies according to the researchers. Man’s influence on the earth began with agriculture about 11000 years ago. But at present, it is not global, but in some specific agricultural areas. There is a critical moment when the old and new worlds collide. This is a major impact and also leads to the movement of plants and animals on the continent. Another possible critical period for the human Pliocene is the industrial revolution, the systematic use of fossil fuels. This also has an impact. Although it is local at first, especially in Europe, it is gradually moving towards the world. This is recorded at the geological level of the sediments. But the most obvious sign seems to be when the nuclear explosion began in the middle of last century, and when chemical components such as pesticides began to be used systematically. Therefore, it seems that the date to be considered is 1950.

Page 1. Why is the Pliocene still an informal name?

A. Opening of the conference All of this is controversial, even though the use of the word anthropology is accepted by many disciplines. But science must be guaranteed, when a new concept is used, in this case, it will be a new geological era, and it must be very clear that the signs of that era will continue to exist in the geological records. It’s hard to explain, because in geology, you almost always see what’s happened, what’s on record. It’s a new paradigm in science, because it’s not something to look back at, it’s a question of what we’re doing and whether it will continue to exist millions of years from now. If we think that the beginning of the Pliocene was in 1950, we must leave sediments and clear rocks different from the previous era, that is, the Holocene, all of which must be preserved for 100 million years. We can’t guarantee that this will be preserved. This is the paradigm of geology. The International Commission on Stratigraphy must verify the Pliocene. Logically speaking, it still can’t see clearly, because it is a future oriented science, not a backward one. This is a paradigm shift.

Page 1. Will plastics be a feature of the human Pliocene?

A. Opening of the conference Plastic will probably not be preserved because it will rot. But pieces of concrete, cement, bricks, tiles, glass will be preserved… All of our synthetic materials are more durable than plastics and easier to keep in geological records.

Page 1. Why is the concept of human Neocene important?

A. Opening of the conference There is a scientific connotation, you have to let science decide. It’s like a drug agency, it has to assess whether the vaccine is appropriate. Well, right here, we will be decided by the working group of the international strategy committee. But I think that what we do on earth will leave a mark in the future, which requires us to reflect that we are harming the earth, and we are changing some conditions of the earth. It will be millions of years before the planet stabilizes, buries what we’ve done, and moves on. Even if we are changing it, the planet will seek another balance and continue. But what we have to consider is that what we are doing, it really affects us, human beings, because we need a lot of resources, which will be exhausted at some time, and then what are we going to do? We are on the earth, and some creatures who are supposed to be smart realize that we are harming the earth. We may be close to the so-called sixth extinction. At this point, we are one of the creatures that may be invaded. We have to ask this question because we don’t want to be the protagonist of the sixth extinction. We have to do something to stop it. This is the most important, it must let us reflect on our life on this planet and our world. The earth will survive, but our world will not. We are only in the shallowest part of the earth, and the earth will keep up with it. The most easily understood situation in the world is the extinction of dinosaurs. 66 million years ago, a huge meteorite fell and produced a polluted dust cloud, which led to the extinction of about 80% of species including dinosaurs. This has had a huge impact in a short period of time. What is going on? Well, dinosaurs left their niche to mammals, and that’s why we’re here. That is to say, every major extinction event, five times, our sixth, will lead to the disappearance of some species, and other species will evolve and occupy their niche. The earth is in a different state of equilibrium, but it still exists. When we say our planet is in danger, that’s not the case: our current way of life on the planet is in danger.

Page 1. Will lifestyle change stop it?

A. Opening of the conference Yes, of course. If we consume less resources and burn less fossil fuels, we will reduce greenhouse gases and slow sea-level rise, which is why it’s important to see and distinguish this moment. Now we are in danger.

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