Anthropocene

The Anthropocene (/ˈæn.θrə.pəˌsin, ænˈθrɒp.ə-/ AN-thrə-pə-seen, an-THROP-ə-)[1][2][3][failed verification] is a proposed geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.[4][5][6][7][8]

As of September 2021, neither the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) nor the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) has officially approved the term as a recognised subdivision of geologic time,[6][9][10] although the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) of the ICS voted in April 2016 to proceed towards a formal golden spike (GSSP) proposal to define the Anthropocene epoch in the geologic time scale (GTS) and presented the recommendation to the International Geological Congress in August 2016.[11] In May 2019, the AWG voted in favour of submitting a formal proposal to the ICS by 2021,[12] locating potential stratigraphic markers to the mid-twentieth century of the common era.[13][12][14] This time period coincides with the start of the Great Acceleration, a post-WWII time period during which socioeconomic and Earth system trends increase at a dramatic rate,[15] and the Atomic Age.

Various start dates for the Anthropocene have been proposed, ranging from the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution 12,000–15,000 years ago, to as recently as the 1960s. The ratification process is still ongoing, and thus a date remains to be decided definitively, but the peak in radionuclides fallout consequential to atomic bomb testing during the 1950s has been more favoured than others, locating a possible beginning of the Anthropocene to the detonation of the first atomic bomb in 1945, or the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963.[12]