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Humans caused the Anthropocene, can they now reverse climate change?

Her distant ancestors crossed the Pacific Ocean to found what became the island nation of Tuvalu, but Grace Malie and her generation could be seeing the end of those islands, a sad illustration of the Anthropocene. Faced with a warming world that could wipe out your home forever, it would be easy to think “we have no future,” Malie stresses. But the 24-year-old activist says she wants to “keep alive hope”, because his generation “is taking action on the matter” to try to reverse the trend.

Feeling of apocalypse

The Anthropocene is the name of a possible new geological epoch caused by the irremediable impact of human activity on the planet. A group of scientists who have been working on the term for a decade on Tuesday presented a site, Crawford Lake in Canada, as the emblem of this new era. The lake’s sediments contain microplastics and even traces of nuclear explosions, which In his opinion, it would show that the Earth has already left the Holocene epoch, which began 11,700 years ago, to enter the Anthropocene. The proposal must still be approved by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).

The United Nations Program for Development (UNDP) warned last year that the world population is facing the “destabilizing planetary pressures and inequalities of the Anthropocene.” Pedro Conceicao, in charge of that UNDP report, acknowledges that this feeling of “apocalypse” can curb the desire of turning things around. Humanity is not trapped in a cycle of destruction, stresses Erle Ellis, a professor at the University of Maryland. Certainly “the best time to achieve carbon neutrality was yesterday,” but that doesn’t mean you should lose hope. Man “is capable of using incredible amounts of energy in large-scale projects such as flying or leaving Earth” to explore space, he explains.

how to represent them?

For some, through new stories. “As a writer and creator, it is terribly easy to construct dystopias,” these fictional stories that describe dark parallel worlds, British novelist Manda Scott told AFP. “The way we imagine the future is closely linked to the current system”, so “it is easier to imagine the total extinction of life on Earth than the end of predatory capitalism, because we believe that it is so and not otherwise,” he explains. trial the solution is to build stories of positive change, which tell how men overcome obstacles to create the future they want. “There may be solutions, things we never think of, innovative ideas,” thinks Malie. Meanwhile, this young woman has decided to record with other militants the oral histories of the archipelago’s elders, as part of a UNESCO-sponsored campaign to protect Tuvalu’s heritage. “Pacific people come from a long line of travellers, warriors, and uphold this passion, this resilience,” says Malie.

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