Anthropocene Rhymes with Intervene

I learned a new word: Anthropocene, AKA the “human” time period. And that means we’re all a part of it.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Anthropocene “Relat[es] to or denot[es] the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.”

For many years (as in the thousands), humans have been the cause of alterations to the course of our climate and environmental state. I don’t think our impact has ever been as dire or as widely controversial as it has been in the past 10 years — especially in the past few years, when this morning I could look at the news and there are still people who will deny that climate change is real and worrisome, despite the overwhelming amount of proof that humans are majorly at fault.

There’s a student writing contest on right now and the deadline is February 1 (2019) at midnight. It’s called the “On the Verge Student Writing Contest.” And as UVic students, we’re part of the prompt: The Future. For this writing contest, we can fill in the blank: what are we on the verge of?

The prompt says:

“Every day, we make choices and perform actions that impact our lived and shared experiences as humans on this planet. The past informs the present, and the present shapes the future. How do our social locations influence these experiences, or alter them? Can we change the future? And in the age of the Anthropocene, what does the future really mean? What are your hopes and dreams — and your fears? Tell us what the future means to you.”

Anthropocene to me (in my limited knowledge since I just learned the word last week) is this huge complex rubber-band ball that has tons of little elements that all wrap around each other and get complicated and make this one huge thing that can grow and evolve and can be stripped or added to. We as society have all these ideas and plans and some of them loop around other ideas, some are bold and wild and eccentric, and others get lost in the middle.

My dream is for the metaphorical rubber-band ball to not be forgotten or ignored. Our actions and ideas may be pivotal and exciting but humans aren’t the only ones affected by them.

Since childhood I have watched documentaries and animated cartoons about our world. Of our oceans and animals and forests and deserts. I fear if humans don’t intervene for the better, the human epoch — Anthropocene — will unravel with major consequences for all. The future to me is one where we help heal what humans have harmed. We can be a positive influence.

As a UVic student, I’m here to learn new things and to become a more conscientious and environmentally responsible individual. I wrote this blog post to bring attention to a writing contest that celebrates the ideas of emerging writers who can express equity, diversity and human rights. Perhaps to write about social responsibility?

You’ve heard my pitch, now it’s your turn to respond. Write poetry, a work of fiction or non-fiction or maybe a spoken word piece by February 1st. Share it out – and with UVic  to take part in an initiative to think critically about our future.

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