Professor Fleming once asked whether necessity brings about invention or whether invention brings about necessity. This seems to be as fundamental a question to the human condition as: “What is the meaning of life?” I believe that the answer to this question is vital to the human progress.
Like human beings, the necessity of invention consumes almost all things. This consumption in turn requires that we develop new methods to perform older tasks. We then call these new methods of consumption newer, faster, more powerful, and yet we are never satisfied. This is the basis for the why this era has been labelled the Anthropocene.
The anthropocene is an era in which humans shape their environment more than any other factor, in no small part due to their consumption. For example, in the pursuit of energy humans have destroyed the landscape via fracking, mining, oil drilling and a number of other factors. These are all non-renewable resources which allow the population to boom. In turn this boom mandates the use of more resources creating a cycle which will only end once the resources are no longer available. Each of the aforementioned sources of energy was discovered as a result of the dwindling number of one of the earlier discovered resources. This marks a system of consumption that is not sustainable and will ultimately result in further destruction of the planet in the nam of “innovation.”
The sad truth is that unless we counter certain activities the Anthropocene will be noted not only for destruction and consumption, but also human ignorance. We live on a planet which is surrounded by almost eternal energy sources in the sun and the wind. These two methods require next to no destruction to be harassed and ye we neglect it. We know the cost of our current style of progress and yet we ignore it. This will ultimately doom us, leaving the Anthropocene as not only the most destructive era in human history, but also quite possible the last.