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The Thermocene Epoch


This article has been superseded by The Obscene Epoch

Geologists say that humans are changing the Earth's climate to a point that constitutes a new geological epoch. I think it is a bad idea to call it the "Anthropocene" epoch.

That name could inspire irrational pride in some humans: they might regard the new epoch as a kind of medal for humanity. "Bully for us -- we've changed Earth's geology! No life forms have done that since algae started making oxygen." Even people who would not consciously say this may be unconsciously view the coming catastrophe is a triumph. This could undermine the impetus to curb global heating.

I therefore suggest adopting some other name while it is still possible.

The name that best fits what's likely to happen in this epoch is "Obscene", but I think that is too jocular to be used for global disaster.

Since the change in climate consists of global heating and its consequences, the name could be "Thermocene". The heating is caused mainly by combustion of fossil fuel and forests, so another possibility is "Pyrocene". (There is a book called The Pyrocene, by Stephen J. Pyne. If you want a copy, please do not get it from Amazon! Especially plesse don't get a commercial DRM-afflicted e-book.)

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