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 he harm we are doing.

I therefore suggest adopting some other name that does justice to the facts.

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". But there are other kinds of harm, such as loss of topsoil, ocean acidification, plastic pollution, which these names do not cover.

The only name that adequately describes what we are doing is "Obscene". Welcome to the Obscene epoch.

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