While I had encountered some of the concepts Professor Fleming engaged with during his talk, “Human/Nature in the Anthropocene,”  the word “Anthropocene” was brand new to me. To put the time we are living in, and the era of humans as the dominant influence, into the scale of geological time is hard to wrap your head around. However, it does seem intuitive that there is a period named for humans, as no one can deny how we have changed the planet. Unfortunately, what saddened me was that many of the identifiers we are leaving behind, like radioactive materials, plastic waste and increased pollution, have a negative impact.

Can we definitively characterize everything that humans do as good or bad? I’m not sure yet. As humans, I think we often like to set ourselves apart from what we deem to be “nature” – not necessarily seeing ourselves as part of it, I think many see us as above it. With this perspective we may not be able to say that what we are doing to the earth, and what we are leaving behind, is “natural.” However, every change on earth, and every layer created now and before, is triggered by something whether it is an organism or other natural phenomenon. I supposed that everyone of us has been part of the newest trigger.


-Joshua Young