Bostock, H. C., Lowe, D. J., Gillespie, R., Priestley, R., Newnham, R. M., & Mooney, S. D. (2015). The advent of the Anthropocene in Australasia. Quaternary Australasia, 32(1), 7–16.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9477
As early as the late 19th Century, several scientists had suggested that humans were starting to influence the physical environment of planet Earth (e.g. Marsh, 1864; Stoppani, 1873; Arrhenius, 1896; Chamberlain, 1897). This idea was resurrected and expanded in 2000 by Paul Crutzen, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist, and the late Eugene Stoermer, a professor of biology specialising in diatoms, who suggested that we had left the Holocene and entered the “Anthropocene” (Crutzen and Stoermer, 2000). As summarised by Steffen et al. (2011) and Wolfe et al. (2013), these iconoclastic scientists were referring to the Anthropocene as the interval of demonstrable human alteration of global biogeochemical cycles, beginning subtly in the late 18th Century following James Watt’s invention of the coal-fired steam engine, and accelerating markedly in the mid-20th Century (termed “The Great Acceleration”). Thus Crutzen and Stoermer (2000) argued that the Anthropocene should be an epoch, and for a starting date at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (Monastersky, 2015).
Australasian Quaternary Association (AQUA)
© 2015 Australasian Quaternary Association (AQUA). Used with permission.