Attention: Earth Science or Geology enthusiasts, scientists have recently uncovered findings that point to a new age in the timeline of the planet. The discovery of a stalagmite from a cave in Meghalaya, India led the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) declare that we have indeed reached the Meghalayan Age in the Holocene Epoch. The newly-discovered stalagmite is hailed as the official time stamp of the beginning of the Meghalayan Age, and it dates back about 4250 years.

Earth from ISS (September 16, 2016)
ISS049e0004489 (September 16, 2016) – The Earth in the night, from the International Space Station (ISS). Photo: ISS Facebook

You would think the declaration of such a ground-breaking discovery would be met with cheers from all and sundry, right? That, however, is not the case. Geologists around the world are divided over the declaration, for many say that it blatantly ignores the Anthropocene theory. For the uninitiated, the Anthropocene theory suggests the mark of an age that bears signs of the influence of human civilisation on the planet, and takes into account the impacts of human activities leading to the apprehended destruction of livelihood and its resources.

The declaration of Meghalayan Age by the IUGS thus leaves us with a lot of things to ponder over. How significant is the impact of such a declaration on the pursuit of science, and for the contributions to humankind? Which age do we actually need to go by? Does this dissent go on to show that a portion of academics is okay with shrugging the responsibility of the human race for the well-being of the planet off their shoulders? This post aims at uncovering some of the integral issues with the entire Meghalayan Age debate, and urges you to focus on what’s most important at the moment.

What is the Meghalayan Age?

It all started with the announcement of a new age called the Meghalayan Age by the global governing body of geologists (yeah sure, they have one!). The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) announced that a new age had started about 4250 years ago (the Meghalayan Age) and it is within the Holocene that started 11,700 years ago after the last ice age. IUGS reports say that the Meghalayan Age is the third phase with Holocene Epoch that began with Greenlandian Age followed by Northgrippian Age.

Sure, it all may seem confusing enough. Apparently, we are not the only ones confused about it. Geologists the world over have voiced their opinions against such blatant claims by the IUGS, saying that the impact of human civilisation on the planet demands to be recognised. If you pause to think about it, you cannot really refute their claims either. With the climate altering for the worse over the years, the impact that humans leave on the planet is undeniable indeed. However, the major issue here revolves around whether the mapping of Earth’s timeline is in tune with the changes brought about to the planet due to agriculture, industries, farming and deforestation.

The real concern – why we must take notice

The real matter of concern, however, is the fact that we have been depriving ourselves of a sustainable future, thanks to rampant violations of environmental laws all around the world. If we do not bring this issue to the fore and start acting on it NOW, things might just get out of hand too soon, too fast.

While geologists battle it out over the Meghalayan Age and its nomenclature, studies show that too many matters need their attention, and they need it right now. One look at the following stats will tell you how drastic an impact the human civilisation has left on the planet, and why Anthropocene theorists might not be feuding in vain.

  • NASA reports reveal that the 21st century has seen most temperature records getting shattered, with an all-time highest point in 2016.
  • Glaciers and ice covers in the Arctic, Alps, Himalayas, and Rockies have shrunk, with ice caps melting faster than ever. The Arctic sea ice recorded an all-time low in 2017, as per NASA reports.
  • 15% to 40% of the entire world’s plastic waste (about 4 million to 12 million metric tons) enters the oceans annually, and it would be enough to cover the entire planet with a year’s worth of waste.
  • The use of recycled paper for the one-day production of The New York Times Sunday edition would be able to save 75,000 trees.
  • Humans have already destroyed 27% of all coral reef population in the world. If things go unchecked, we could be losing all of it in the next 30 years.

So much of environmental degradation stripping the planet of its life force with each passing day, and geologists of the modern day are fighting it out over what to call the age we are living in. As we have seen MyAssignmenthelp, an education firm doing the same. It does seem a bit ironic when you put into context, right?

Parting words

With geologists divided over determining the timeline for the planet, the primary matter of concern is whether we will continue to turn a blind eye to the ill effects that our activities are bringing on to the planet. Geological jargons or nomenclature proves to be futile at the end of the day if we continue in our wayward actions that are gradually pushing the planet to its tipping point. Maybe that is precisely the reason why we should be focusing on matters graver than “what to call the age we are living in.”

However, the very debate goes on to show that a portion of the world’s most renowned scientists is denying the impact of human civilisation on the planet. But we remain – and will continue to be – the most significant of geological species to inhabit Earth. Hence, the power to change the ways of the world and help it heal also lies with us. It is necessary to take a long, hard look at how matters are on Earth before going back to that next DIY video on Facebook, and think about whether it is really worth arguing over what to call an age when we should be worried about ensuring a sustainable future for the generations to come.

Valentina Belle
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