In an article for The Conversation, Dr Matthew Adams, Principal Lecturer in Psychology, challenged the notion of the Anthropocene period, which refers to the idea that the Earth’s geological record has been transformed by human activity and environmental breakdown.
Dr Adams said the Anthropocene is a “highly problematic way of framing our predicament”.
He added that humanity’s relatively short time on Earth meant our geological legacy would be akin to the comet dust of the mass extinction 66 million years ago that killed off three quarter of all species: “a slightly odd transition layer a quarter of an inch thick.”
As such, Dr Adams said we should be “wary” of the Anthropocene and the idea that humanity has had a major impact on the Earth in the context of the planet’s 4.45 billion year history.
While he admitted there is “plenty of evidence for human impact in the geological record,” he added that a “fuller appreciation of deep time should actually make us wary of the Anthropocene label, maybe even shift our image of ourselves and what it means to inhabit the Earth this time”.