IUGS Commissions Vote to Maintain Holocene Epoch, Against Anthropocene Declaration

News Alert by Kip Hansen - 20 March 2024

Earlier this month we heard that the International Union of Geological Sciences commission on the Anthropocene voted not to declare that the Earth had entered a new epoch of geological time: neither now nor in 1950.

The reporting at that time included that the chair and the vice-chair of the commission both objected to the vote. "Even so, it was unclear Tuesday morning [March 5th] whether the results stood as a conclusive rejection or whether they might still be challenged or appealed. In an email to The Times, the committee's chair, Jan A. Zalasiewicz, said there were "some procedural issues to consider" but declined to discuss them further. Dr. Zalasiewicz, a geologist at the University of Leicester, has expressed support for canonizing the Anthropocene."

The NY Times has an update on the issue: "March 20, 2024 Updated 11:22 a.m. ET The highest governing body in geology has upheld a contested vote by scientists against adding the Anthropocene, or human age, to the official timeline of Earth's history.

The vote, which a committee of around two dozen scholars held in February, brought an end to nearly 15 years of debate about whether to declare that our species had transformed the natural world so thoroughly since the 1950s as to have sent the planet into a new epoch of geologic time.

Despite the continued objections of Dr. Zalasiewicz and his vice-chair, Martin J. Head: ".....the committee's parent body, the International Union of Geological Sciences, has decided the results will stand, the union's executive committee said in a statement on Wednesday.

That means it's official. Our planet, at least for the time being, is still in the Holocene epoch, which began 11,700 years ago with the most recent melting of the ice sheets.

Author's Comment: And, hopefully, that is the end of that! At least "officially". Activists and Advocates-of-all-stripes will continue to use the term to forward their anti-human stances and to blame all "bad things" on humans and human influences. Kudos to the geologists!

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