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Reflections on the Anthropocene


Reflections on the Anthropocene

Robert C. Koehler

“However these debates will unfold, the Anthropocene represents a new phase in the history of both humankind and of the Earth, when natural forces and human forces became intertwined, so that the fate of one determines the fate of the other. Geologically, this is a remarkable episode in the history of this planet.”


“I hear the largest challenge that humanity has ever faced or imagined — a challenge that transcends religion, politics and science, indeed, everything we believe and everything we know, or think we know. This includes a belief in our own reckless immaturity.”

Reckless immaturity, thy name is GREED.


Who in our school system is responsible for the inability of our children to think critically?


I suggest that the name “anthropocene” is an unwise choice, because
some people (perhaps the ones who would vote for Trump) would take it
as a medal of success. I suggest choosing another name.



fantastic post! one of koehler’s best. right from the top this clause, “when natural forces and human forces became intertwined,” caught my mind’s eye, too. perhaps blame it on my few precious drops of tsa-la-gi blood but i know that human forces exist as a subset of Nature’s forces. most western religions teach that only humans are “created in the image of god” and therefore, separate from and above all else in Nature.

this anthropocene era may be the shortest of all previous geological eras. what we, collectively, have set in motion could well prove suicidal lest some greater physical force halt the current projectory er, i mean trajectory. after all, a body in motion will continue to move unless another force can intervene. i think robert koehler may have named that force when he suggests “a spiritual shift.”

I hear the largest challenge that humanity has ever faced or imagined — a challenge that transcends religion, politics and science, indeed, everything we believe and everything we know, or think we know. This includes a belief in our own reckless immaturity.

hopefully, as more and more of us recognize the seriousness of our current state our species may decide to face the music and grow up. we need to imbrace a new way of thinking about ourselves as a species and our Earth–our only home in the universe. just as the first settlers learned to live in harmony with Nature, we can learn how to “be fruitful and multiply” the precious gifts from Mother Nature leaving our children something better than a scorched and depleted land and an unpayable debt. we are not yet partners with Nature. we are, as a species, self-centered little brats with great tech toys and never a thought as to how our actions reverberate. unless we outgrow our anthropocentric tunnel vision the anthropocene era may be the last this species records.


Great article but no real mention of the struggles and organizations coming together that are attempting to move us forward – beyond the capitalist juggernaut of destruction. A good documentary on this here


All organisms modify the planet; we are not unique except perhaps we have done it more quickly.


I used to not stand for the pledge of allegiance every morning while I was in school. I’d get in sooo much trouble for that. I still don’t regret it.


also, i wish to thank bob koehler for showing that the first inhabitants on this continent enhanced the land. the early arrivals from europe discovered an almost park-like environment with large shade trees, paths to stroll and grassy areas where the children could play or one might wish to sit and meditate in peace and harmony. also, according to letters sent from this “new world” many were impressed by the longevity and heath of so many elders. the europeans felt amazed by the life expectancy much greater than on the “old world”.

must be kismet! i awoke this morning to find an email entitled, “true” sent from my son. view here i include the words that came accompanied by a picture of a chief.

When the blood in your veins returns to the sea,

and the earth in your
bones returns to
the ground,

perhaps then you
will remember that this
land does not
belong to you.

It is you who belongs
to the land.


"Ozzie and Harriet"

we had an article on the antrpocene explaining that geologists agree that this new age began circa 1950-ish. the geologists have not yet agreed on “the golden spike” or outstanding event which marks a new geological age. gee, “ozzie and harriet” is as good as any but i suspect this is the resultof many events occurring almost simultaneously. ww2 had ended, but the war in europe had acted as quite a boon to u.s. manufacturing. young men and women left the farm as there were more jobs in the city than applicants. middle class workers began investing in television sets and more and more homes enjoyed air-conditioning. also, during the 50s city dwellers with cars began the move to the suburbs to enjoy the peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle and traffic jams of city life. women began entering the work force to earn a little “extra” money.

well, well, well, while we cooled our homes we heated the atmosphere. television itself may be a reason so many have lost cognitive thinking skills. once families gathered around the radio to hear their favorite shows. as they listed they imagine and saw in the mind’s eye the characters and actions. this might answer imhotep’s question. the radio enhanced our skills of imagination while the t.v. does that job for us. we have become a passive audience. today, many families find that both parents must work just to make ends meet. where’s that “extra” money? and how’s that stress-free life in the suburbs working out for ya?


i think the initial responsibility for encouraging critical thinking skills belongs to the parents and family. last week koehler shared a memory of when his four year old daughter decided to exert her independence by refusing to wear her winter coat one cold chigago morning. adding to his frustration bob was running a bit late that morning. he could have forced her to put on the coat or threaten to paddle her little behind, but instead he chose to talk as equals with* his daughter. in no time she felt secure in her own right to self-determination, made the wise decision and donned her winter coat.

  • i emphasized the word with because i cringe a bit at those public service announcements advising parents to talk to your youngster about . . . a wise parent also listens.