Embrace the Anthropocene Epoch!

Aaron Wong
3 min readJan 20, 2017

But I suppose that would be very anthropocentric of me to say. However, it’s astonishing to think how much impact we’ve created to the planet in such short time compared to the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs out of the quaternary period (WWF, Living Planet Report). As the reality of tomorrow’s inauguration for the next president sets in, it’s easy to be overcome with fear, but the severity of this upcoming presidency has shocked the world and has united numerous parties, whom would have never joined together in effort to combat what could be human extinction, to do so (Eban Goldstein, The Long View). We stand at a very opportune moment of history for the planet’s critical ecological mass and at the threshold of a new beginning towards the next paradigm shift.

I say that because I know I’m not the only one who’s been thinking about what this next shift will be and when it will happen. Many disastrous human resource consumption practices such as coal have already peaked and are slowly being abandoned, so when can we expect the next innovative solution to solve our major energy and food source needs (Laurence C. Smith, Greenhouse Warming)? Scientists, engineers, and designers are working on promising renewable energy and geo-engineering solutions, which gives me hope that we will have the innovations to overcome our consumer needs, while smart businesses drive and consumers themselves are following sustainable practices despite government deregulation, and this is that paradigm shift in thinking and doing (Laurence C. Smith, Greenhouse Warming).

One day in the near future, we will look back on Trump’s inauguration day and think to ourselves, why did we rely so heavily on government when we had the power to create change through ourselves all along? Yes, the government is essential to creating policies and regulations, but as consumers, we are the customers, and we have the right and ability to demand change in the products we are offered. The paradigm shift is the change from being passive to active consumers; to be deliberate and intentional, thinking beyond our immediate needs, and our immediate neighborhoods. I’m hopeful that what was a heart-wrenching, fear-invoking election process, will turn out to be a blessing in disguise, and that tomorrow’s inauguration, and Saturday’s Women’s March will encourage future leaders to step up from whatever (non)gender, sexual orientation, race, and social-economic background.

“Public ignorance has given the politicians the space to continue to fight last decade’s battles, instead of addressing today’s most urgent issue. The old and tired arguments of the sceptics, which have hardly changed in decades, ignore both scientific facts and lived experience (Laurence C. Smith, Greenhouse Warming).”

Let us stomp out ignorance, and incite thoughtfulness. “87% of millennial think that success should be measured in terms of more than just it’s financial performance,” so let’s do something about this (Andrew Winston, Sustainable Business Will Move Ahead With or Without Trump’s Support). The paradigm shift brings with it a framework for creating sustainable change — a shift in mindset to persistence, transformable, and adaptable social and ecological systems (Johan Rockstrom, Let the Environment Guide our Development). I urge young people to build up the base of the sustainability movement as active consumers; to continue the movement in discriminating businesses, and finally, to bring systems change in government as policy and law. The anthropocene epoch holds much potential to create revolutionary positive change to our planet.