Some geologists and archeologists are ready to label modern times as the Anthropocene Epoch, the Era of Man, for the tremendous impact mankind has had on the planet.
The question is, if mankind merits its own epoch, when did it start? Some argue for the Industrial Revolution, which led to the revolutionary release of trapped carbon, gases and other materials into the atmosphere and environment we are now experiencing. Others argue that the epoch might have begun over 11,000 years ago – when mankind began radically altering landscapes and environments through farming.
One of our defining characteristics as humans, what makes us ‘modern’, is our attempt to control our food supply through agriculture, as opposed to hunting and gathering what is available at a given time and place.
We have become extremely skilled at producing food. What we haven’t mastered is distribution, food production that doesn’t cause more environmental damage than the hunger it should prevent, and good management.
The theme of the 2013 World Environment Day is Think.Eat.Save. The focus is on food waste.
It seems that another defining human characteristic is that when we are blessed with excess, we quickly forget how not to be wasteful.
World Environment Day 2013 (WED) – United Nations Environment Programme