Geological eras are periods of time that comprise all the rocks formed during that time. Its use allows to divide and to study the different stages through which the planet has passed since its creation until the today.
You probably know the Cenozoic, Mesozoic or Paleozoic, but have you heard about the Anthropocene? For the last two hundred years humankind has caused such a negative footprint on the environment that some scientists describe it as a new geological age: the age of human impact on Earth or the Anthropocene.
Since the pre-industrial era, and especially since the second half of the last century, the degradation of the environment and the climate change caused by humans have increased at a rate never seen in any other time in history.
Causes of the Anthropocene
When analyzing the reasons that have caused the appearance of this new geological age, we can speak of two main causes: the model of energy production and the resource consumption model. The energy produced from coal, oil and natural gas emits large amounts of greenhouse gases, the main causes of global warming.
For its part, the growing population needs a greater use of natural resources that nowadays surpasses the capacity of the Earth to regenerate them.
Consequences of the Anthropocene
These human actions cause, among other consequences, changes in the water cycle, imbalances and destructions in the marine and terrestrial ecosystems, the increase of extreme meteorological phenomena, the acidification of the oceans or the disappearance of the forests.
Is it possible to stop the devastating impact we are having on the planet? Yes. Although there are certain irreversible consequences, we can still mitigate much of the damage caused to the environment.
It is necessary to tackle the problem at its root, decarbonising the economy and relying in renewable and non-polluting energy sources such as the sun, the water and the wind. Also making a responsible and equal use of natural resources will help achieve a more sustainable system that can prevent the Anthropocene from becoming the last era of our planet.