This week’s lecture made me think about the anthropocentrism involved in even talking about the Anthropocene. We, humans, are discussing our impact on the natural world in this new geologic age characterized by human innovation and manipulation. The mere fact that the term Anthropocene has been coined reflects a human-centric view of the planet in recent years. (The definition of ‘recent’ is up for debate here.) The term also reflects the opinion that humans are the entity that has had the greatest impact on the Earth in recent times, discounting the innumerable other forms of life and processes of nature that have also been molding the world we live in.
Taking an anthropocentric view of the world is probably not ideal, but it is also probably the outlook most people unconsciously take. We are humans, and we have a tangible impact on the systems of nature through construction, pollution, and other means. However, as with most, if not all, areas of contemplation today, it is best to take an intersectional approach when discussing and studying the natural world. Considering the influence of nature in addition to the human impact, and also considering the ramifications of certain actions for organisms other than humans and for abiotic parts of the environment will lead to a more inclusive view of the planet today.