1. What is the Anthropocene and to whom is the term due?
The Anthropocene is a name that was coined in the year 2000 by Paul Crutzen, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, to mark a new geological epoch, in which human activities began to cause biological and geophysical changes on a planetary scale. Although the Anthropocene has not been officially accepted as a geological epoch, the concept circulates through countless means and it has become very common to hear about it. Officially we live in the Holocene, the most recent geological epoch of the Quaternary period. It started about 12 thousand years ago, at the end of the Würm glaciation, after 60,000 years of ice and snow.
For the Anthropocene to be accepted as a new geological epoch, certain canons imposed by geology, such as rock records through stratigraphy, must be met.
However, a team of high-level researchers relied on the discovery of radioactive waste left by atomic bombs in the Ría de Bilbao, Spain. “We have already changed the Earth: the Anthropocene is the moment in which humans manage to change the life cycle of the planet, when humans remove the planet from its natural variability,” says Alejandro Cearreta, a member of mentioned team, conformed by 35 scientists. After seven years of research, the gruop agreed to consider the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch, included within the Quaternary period, but its proposal is still under discussion.