In all honesty, I really cannot imagine how different my life would be without the invention of the refrigerator. What should certainly be considered a modern marvel has become so commonplace that its presence in our kitchens, dorm rooms, convenience stores, garages, and anywhere else you’d like to have one, has become vastly overlooked. The fridge is evidently extremely influential to our present day lifestyle, as it shapes what we consume, and how we consume it. This talk absolutely made me consider the refrigerator’s connection to the anthropocene. In trying to pinpoint when this epoch may have begun, I believe that one cannot consider the anthropocene to have commenced at any time after the invention of the fridge. Sure, other animals may store their food (such as squirrels, for example), but our ability to utilize science and technology to create a quarantined environment, located within our own homes, for our food is definitely one way in which we have separated ourselves from the rest of the world. In a sense, we are able to travel in time–from a time when our food should be so old that it is toxic, to a time when it is fresh and edible. We have essentially extended our food’s lifespan–and I find that the ability to do something like that contributes to the meaning of the anthropocene.

Beyond that, the refrigerator also certainly contributes to the issues we now face related to the global climate. Not only have fridges shaped our landscape by altering what we consume (we now eat much more meat and dairy, which means we need more farms and pastures for the increased demand of cows), but also by their byproducts (greenhouse gases). It is interesting to consider how one small machine can shape the planet in such a way. The fridge almost becomes a device of irony, as many of us who try to avoid wasting food by storing it in our fridges to eat later, may ultimately be wasting even more threatening amounts of energy in the process, not to mention GHGs that will enter the atmosphere. It is because of this appliance’s status as a staple in our lives that we tend to overlook or forget its negative aspects. Such a concept ultimately highlights how certain man-made staples of our society have come to shape the anthropocene.