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This is a “research synthesis” paper which is intended to ask you to engage mult


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This is a “research synthesis” paper which is intended to ask you to engage multiple sources and arguments from across different disciplines, to assess them in terms of how persuasive or not they are and to then conclude by offering your judgement–maybe one or two of the arguments stand out as best or maybe you see a way to build to form them a synthetic interpretation that strikes you as most persuasive. You have a lot of room to maneuver here. In the below Required Resources you will find a set of peer-review articles (articles that are only published after having been reviewed by 2-4 academic peers who test their credibility and quality) that offer different takes on the question “When did the Anthropocene start?”.
Your task is to write a paper (5-pages, 12-point font, Chicago Manual of Style footnotes) that assesses/critiques the different arguments and identifies either the most persuasive one or tries to synthesize them into an interpretation of your own. Or something in-between. The only way to get an “A” will be to offer a synthesis of your own. Be wary of having your paper turn into a list of articles: “This articles says this…this article says that…this article says this…etc.” You’ll need to find a way to impose your own thoughts and narrative.
Two other ways to make your paper stand-out and raise the level of quality:
Look at and cite some of the sources that the author’s use. Digging into the sources used in articles you read is the best way to find information you can use to your own purposes.
Find and use articles on defining the Anthropocene that are more recent to tap into the latest research.
Read the articles in one go so they are all fresh in your mind and you can make sense of how they refer to one another. Also, make notes of who argues what to give you the framework you will need to come to grips with the complexity and highlight key bits of text as you read so they will be easy to find when you go back over the articles.
The goal of this paper is to read all the attached articles and synthesize them whilst offering critique and a unique opinion on them.
The below are my notes on the Anthropocene, please use them if it helps in completing this research synthesis essay:
Resource that is helpful: UVic in the Anthropocene – University of Victoria
“only fundamental and equitable changes to societies will reverse our current trajectory.”
Dr. Trevor Hancock, Emeritus Professor, School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria, also Founder of UVic in the Anthropocene
Published in the Times Colonist under ‘Measures to tackle climate change bring health benefits, too’ ‘:
Blog Posts – UVic in the Anthropocene (
Notes: Maybe we were meant to have this pandemic to teach us how we can work and live in ways that are ecologically better for the planet. The carbon footprint was dramatically reduced when the pandemic happened. Does climate change have something to do with the pandemic? Is the pandemic meant to teach us how we can live in a way that is better for the environment?
The name Anthropocene is a combination of anthropo- from the Ancient Greek ἄνθρωπος (anthropos) meaning ‘human’ and -cene from καινός (kainos) meaning ‘new’ or ‘recent’.Etymology. The name Anthropocene is a combination of anthropo- from the Ancient Greek ἄνθρωπος (anthropos) meaning ‘human’ and -cene from καινός (kainos) meaning ‘new’ or ‘recent’.
Article: When Did The Anthropocene Start? Paul Crutzen And Eugene Stoermer
Many scientists who support the formalization of the Anthropocene as an epoch argue that increasing soil erosion, intensive farming and land use have left traces in the rocks layers, but others claim that these traces are less visible and less obvious than other changes. However, there is evidence in the rock layers, and many of these scientists argue that the effects of the above-mentioned changes have created unique signatures in these layers. When Paul Crutzen and Eugene F. Stoermer introduced the term Anthropocene in 2000, both scientists and non-scientists used the term to describe that we live in the Anthropocene Epoch. Professor Jedediah Purdy wrote about the use of the term anthropocene to describe a wide range of natural and ecological changes produced by man in an effort to combine them into one situation rather than separating everything under a single name adequately emphasized the central role of humans in geology and ecology and suggested using the term “Anthropocene” for the current geological epoch. Paul Crutzen and Eugene F. Stoermer suggest in a short article in the Global Change Newsletter that geologists use the term Anthropocene to describe the geological epoch in which man left a decisive, earth-shattering signature. In view of the many other major and growing impacts of human activities on the Earth’s atmosphere, including on a global scale, it seems more than appropriate to emphasise the central role of man in geology and ecology by proposing to use the name Anthropocene for the current geological period. Crutzen refers to our time as the Anthropocene (the Greek Anthropos means “man”) and says that human activities are driving these changes and that humanity will remain a significant geological force for millions of years and long after catastrophe.
The first mention of the Anthropocene as the name of the current geological epoch was made in February 2000 at a meeting of the International Geosphere and Biosphere Program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. During the meeting, Paul J. Crutzen, a Dutch Nobel laureate in atmospheric chemistry and IGPB vice chairman.
Scientists use the term Anthropocene to describe the impact of human behavior on the Earth’s atmosphere since the industrial revolution. But it was Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen who popularized the term, and Eugene F. Stoermer of the University of Michigan, who coined it at the beginning of the 21st century. For them, the Anthropocene will describe how human influences have weakened how the Earth functions.
Crutzen and Stoermer suggested that the Anthropocene conveys the idea that our human influence is significant enough to justify the beginning of a new geological age. The word Anthropos (Greek for “man”) in itself indicates that man is a community that, over time, has been an important determining force on a geological scale. With its emphasis on what humans do today and in the future, the term Anthropocene serves as a call to action for ecological sustainability and responsibility.
The first proposal for the early Anthropocene came from US geologist William Ruddiman who argued that the Anthropocene began when humans began large-scale agriculture in different parts of the world eight thousand to five thousand years ago.
Crutzen’s sudden realization that humanity had stumbled across a new geological epoch it had created, the Anthropocene produced reverberations that not only shocked the world of science, but also poured into political and economic discourse. Some scientists argue that the Great Acceleration can be used to mark the beginning of an Anthropocene, while others, including Crutzen, say it marks the beginning of an epoch-defining second phase. Article: When Did The Anthropocene Start? William Ruddiman
Some argue that the Anthropocene began with the advent of agriculture and certain agricultural activities such as irrigation of rice fields and deforestation which led to a sharp increase in CO2 and methane concentrations some 8,000 years ago.
Other early arguments of the Anthropocene suggest that the date of the Anthropocene lies between the first major change in the landscape by humans, the extinction of many large mammals in the late Pleistocene, the formation of anthropogenic soils in Europe and the European invasion of America around 1500. The beginning of the phase of major human impacts on the planet, the Anthropocene, is still under discussion. Many scientists have defined this period in planetary history as the extent of human influence, calling it a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene. Some scientists have argued that human activity has shaped the planet for thousands of years.
The Anthropocene is a proposed period that dates back to the onset of significant human impacts on Earth’s geology and ecosystems, including anthropogenic climate change but not limited to them. The Early Anthropocene Hypothesis (also known as the Early Anthropogenic Ruddiman Hypothesis) is an approach to the onset of the Anthropocene proposed by William Ruddiman in 2003. As a scientist, Ruddiman is one of the leading proponents of this hypothesis, claiming that pre-industrial grubbing-up and agricultural practices have caused the release of an underestimated amount of greenhouse gases that have changed the planet.
The early Anthropocene hypothesis that preindustrial grubbing and agricultural practices caused the release of historically underestimated amounts of greenhouse gases altering the Earth sparked debate during the recent Ice Ages, but an investigation of interdisciplinary archaeological research lends nuance and support to the efforts of William Ruddiman’s to shed light on human impact on the biosphere thousands of years ago. Ruddiman, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Virginia, has suggested that the invention of agriculture 8,000 years ago and resulting deforestation resulted in an increase in atmospheric CO2 so large that it prevented the start of a new ice age. In his view, the planet was the dominant force at the start of the Holocene. For example, four researchers – Ruddiman, Alder Ellis, Jed Kaplan, and Dorian Fuller – found that clearing forests for agriculture led to a significant increase in carbon dioxide emissions 7,500 years ago.
Scholar Elizabeth Deloughrey postulates that the early Anthropocene hypothesis traces an eight thousand-year history of deforestation, but has never been associated with a history of human violence. Ruddiman’s work, in turn, has been challenged by data from the early interglaciation, a stage between 11 and 400,000 years ago, suggesting that another 16,000 years passed before the current Holocene interglacial ended, and that the earlier anthropogenic hypothesis is invalid. In his long overdue glaciation hypothesis, Ruddiman asserts that an incipient ice age began several thousand years ago and was prevented by intensive agriculture and deforestation of early farmers who began to increase greenhouse gas levels eight thousand years earlier. While much of the Earth’s environmental change is said to be a direct result of the industrial revolution, William Ruddiman argues that the Anthropocene started with development of agriculture and settled cultures 8,000 years ago. Ruddiman claims that the anthropocene had a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions, beginning not with the industrial age but eighteen thousand years ago, when ancient farmers cleared forests to grow crops. Some researchers say humans began changing the planet thousands of years before the development of agriculture. Ruddiman argued not to see the anthropocene as a sudden event but as a slow transformation of the planet that began about 5,000 years ago. He proposed the so-called early anthropocene hypothesis – a theory that ancient agricultural grubbing-ups added so much carbon to the atmosphere that they prevented Arctic ice sheets from expanding for more than 3,500 years. This was what Ruddimans focused on when he began to develop his hypothesis that it was the clearing of forests for agriculture that released the carbon dioxide and methane released by rice cultivation responsible for the increase in greenhouse gases in modern times. Article: When Did The Anthropocene Start? Simon Lewis And Mark Maslin
Recent global environmental changes suggest that the Earth is entering a new, human-dominated geological epoch called the Anthropocene. Scientists argue that it is time to draw a line under the current geological epoch and begin a new epoch defined by the influence of man on the planet. The human planet is a readable overview of the science of the Anthropocene and the implications of recognizing us as a force of nature.
Lewis and Maslin (2015) applied modern geological requirements to a systematic search for evidence markings that could be used to define a new geological unit of time, the anthropocene. Various starting dates for the anthropogenic epoch have been proposed, ranging from the beginning of the agrarian revolution about 12,000 to 15,000 years ago to the 1960s. A January 2016 report on climatic, biological and geochemical signatures of human activity in sediments and ice cores suggests that the period before mid-20th century should be recognized as a geological epoch different from the Holocene. The decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide in Antarctic ice cores dates back to 1610. This is the first indication that geological sediments in the context of a new global homogeneous ecology represent a reasonable start date for the new Anthropocene. Maslin and Lewis argue that the beginning of the Anthropocene can be dated by ORBI to a peak or through in carbon dioxide levels associated with the arrival of Europeans in America. The decline of carbon dioxide around 1610 provides this first marker.
When we talk about the Anthropocene, the human footprint on the Earth system goes far. Geographers and geologists have contributed to a new understanding of our past and to defining a new human-dominated period in Earth’s history that began with European colonialism. In the future, 1610 will be remembered as the geological moment when man dominated the earth. New geological forces and our actions propelled the Earth into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. It is what scientists call it, combining the words “human” and “recent”. The controversial label for our present geological epoch places the responsibility for irreversible changes in the Earth system on the human species. Humans have been on the planet long enough, some argue, that the Anthropocene began with the impact of the Age of Discovery, – the document of discovery as it relates to colonialism – the date of a naturally occurring carbon signature in 1610 known as the Orbi peak. Notes to add to the above: Indigenous Title and The Doctrine of Discovery ( Doctrine of Discovery
But they argue that the points that define the Anthropocene are as political as they are scientific, and aim for change and the future to prevent the collapse of the Earth system. Professor Mark Maslin and Professor Simon Lewis, both from UCL Geography, write that colonization marks the beginning of the Anthropocene and that the origins of racism and climate change have a common cause. Lewis and Maslin insist that scientists need to think about how the date of the Anthropocene will affect the stories people tell about human history. Lewis and his UCL co-author Mark Maslin are considering rejecting the earlier use of fire as a potential candidate at the start of agriculture and the Industrial Revolution.


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