29 March 2015

James Lovelock's start date for the Anthropocene

James Lovelock's* choice of 1712 (Newcomen Atmospheric Engine) as the start of the Anthropocene epoch is based on the fact that it was the first artificial system capable of focusing applied energy at a rate greater than the Solar constant, ~1.35 kW/m^2. To his thinking, this was the threshold wherein technology transcended the energetics of the natural world, and there was and is no going back.
*Gaia, (1979); A Rough Ride to the Future (2014).
Update: a friend suggests we start the calendar over. If so, this year is the year 303 (A.E., for Anthopocene Epoch). Traditionally geological epochs are not precise to the calendar year, but that is one of the things that makes this new one different. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Gyromantic Informicon. Comments are not moderated. If you encounter a problem, please go to home page and follow directions to send me an e-mail.