Why It’s a Problem That John Locke Didn’t Understand Extinction


Welcome to the Anthropocene.

This greeting is belated, of course. We have all been here the whole
of our lives, without knowing it for most of our days.

The Anthropocene is a span of geological and evolutionary time (technically, an epoch) during which humans have had an outsized role in transforming the natural world, most of that time without knowledge and awareness of the consequences of their actions. Those who use the term argue about when the epoch begins.

Does it start with the Industrial Revolution, late in the 18th century, hastening around 1850? Or does it make sense to push the date back in time to the first appearances of agriculture in scattered populations, as much as 10,000 years before the present, or even earlier?

It matters more to scientists and scholars than it does to you, whenever you step out into your dooryard (a patch of the outdoors where the business of human work and play, in and out of doors, transacts with the natural). You’re in the Anthropocene.

Source: Why It’s a Problem That John Locke Didn’t Understand Extinction

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