A couple of days ago, I expressed gratitude for Marcia Bjornerud’s “Timefulness,” in particular its revelatory information on relative scales of time and activity. I was also reassured that she supports geologists calling our world today the Anthropocene Era. In the extract above, I show just how deeply she has examined the Anthropocene from various macro angles. And here’s what she says:
We are literally changing the configuration of the continents and remaking the world map. But does this matter on a planet that has seen so many geographies, constantly erasing old worlds and replacing them with new ones? It doesn’t to the Earth itself, which will eventually remodel everything according to its own preferences, either gradually or catastrophically. Over human timescales, however, our disruption of geography will haunt us. Soil lost to erosion, coastal areas claimed by the sea, and mountaintops sacrificed on the altar of capitalism won’t be restored in our lifetime. And these alterations will set in motion a cascade of side effects—hydrologic, biological, social, economic, and political—that will define the human agenda for centuries. In other words, thoughtless disregard for the work of the geologic past means we cede control of our own future.