Should we classify human history as the “Anthropocene age”?

Although human beings have existed on earth for a mere 200,000 years, our impact on the planet is extremely evident. In recent years, geologists have begun to argue that the changes made by humans are so significant that the current era should be labeled as a new epoch – the Anthropocene – meaning a time period in which human activity has been the dominant influence on culture and the environment. Should scientists be in agreement over labeling the current era the Anthropocene age?

investigate

When Did Humans Start Shaping Earth's Fate? An Epoch Debate

Evidence that we are in the Age of Man: Scientists catalog more human-made minerals

Additional resources to think about

'Case is made' for Anthropocene Epoch 
There is little doubt now that we have entered a new geological age, believes an international scientific panel.

Did the Anthropocene Begin in 1950 or 50,000 Years Ago?
Scientists debate whether hunting, farming, smallpox or the nuclear bomb define the start of irreversible human impacts on our planet

What Is the Anthropocene and Are We in It?
Efforts to label the human epoch have ignited a scientific debate between geologists and environmentalists.

contemplate

Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?

 

What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)?
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • Are there any symbols? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?

 

Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2018, Center for Media Literacy, www.medialit.com

debate

Should we classify human history as the “Anthropocene age”?

Don't let the learning stop here!

Join other classrooms across the state in live debates.