One point of discussion about last week’s Anthropocene lecture that particularly caught my attention is when we described the current era as the “age of humans”. By calling it the age of humans, we actively put ourselves in the center. We, so it seems, are the main protagonists of this era. The dominant species on which everything depends on and which undermines the presence of anything else around us. We do not only “rule” the world but also destroy it through our unsustainable life style.
The term age of humans does not only remind us of the hierarchical structure on which we have placed us above everything, but it also carries the subliminal message on how evanescent everything is. Once upon a time, this very planet was primarily inhabited by dinosaurs. We describe this era as the “age of dinosaurs”. The age of dinosaurs ended abruptly through the impact of a 6-mile-wide asteroid striking the Earth. Although extinction is a natural process, human activity increased the extinction rate by an estimate of 1,000 – 10,000 times. If we don’t start placing us in relation to the environment and stop being so self-centred the “age of humans” will be history much sooner than we think.