What is this blog? I hear you ask, and what on earth does anthroment mean?
Well, we will start off with its name-sake. If you know any ancient Greek or Latin, then you might have a pretty good idea. If you are amongst the majority of people who do not I will help enlighten you.
Some of you may have heard or seen the word Anthropocene used every now and then. If you know what it means, then great. If not, the word has Ancient Greek roots. Anthropos, meaning human, and -cene meaning new or recent. It is basically a word scientists came up with to describe the current period in geological time. There is some disagreement surrounding the precise start date of the Anthropocene period. Some say it was in 1941 when the USA dropped the atomic bomb, consequently causing higher levels of radioactive isotopes to show up in rock strata. Other people say it is earlier, around the time of the industrial revolution when carbon dioxide concentrations began to exponentially increase from all the burning of coal as a fossil fuel. A few suggest it was even earlier when humans started deforesting on a large scale, causing CO2 levels to rise. Either way, whatever the exact date of the beginning of the Anthropocene is. It is the epoch of humans becoming a geologic force, directly affecting earth systems and geology. No longer in harmony with nature like every other creature, but instead trying to control it. We have had the age of the dinosaurs. The Anthropocene is the age of the humans.
The name of this blog is a portmanteau of two words, Anthropocene and environment. Portmanteau is a fancy term that is used when two words are combined, for example smoke and fog becoming smog (This isn’t just a science blog, you get to learn English too!). In a not-so-clever play on words my blog basically has two meanings; human influenced environment, and a more literal meaning – the state of things as a result of humans. This is because the suffix ‘-ment’ denotes an action or resulting state. I know this isn’t precise, but it’s a word I made up so I guess that means I can have some element of creative licence and make it mean what I want it to mean.
Moving onto the next point, you hopefully now have some idea what this blog is about. It is a place for me to put all my thoughts and writings about the environment, climate change, ecology, geology, natural history, biology, disease…and the list goes on. The main thing – is that most – if not all my posts will relate to humans activities or the impacts of human lifestyle on the natural world. If you want somewhere to read about all the ways humans are causing death and destruction this is the place. But there will also be some good things. Just so we don’t get too depressed.
So, on here I will write about many things. Mainly, my own thoughts on a variety of issues. Hopefully, it will encourage you to look more into a topic, or simply give you one persons perspective. For my own benefit as much as anyone else I plan to do some articles on things I have learnt in my university lectures and what it means to me. Look out for occasional summaries of recent scientific papers written in a way that are suitable for bedtime reading or a morning commute. I would also like to write some reviews and comparisons of relevant books and documentaries I have read or seen. For example the two books: Climate vs. Capitalism and The God Species. I hope that will be really interesting as they are both well-researched, evidence-based books on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to climate action. Basically, this is somewhere I can talk (write) about anything and everything. A lot of this stuff may really bore some people, but I hope there will be a few people who I don’t bore. And if nothing else, I hope there will be at least one person who reads something I’ve written and comes away having learnt something new (even if they were bored).
Stay smart – JB