Anthropocene Unfolding

We can’t put a date on when geological epochs begin or end.  But to say that Anthropocene began circa 19th/20th century would be reasonable; for some continents early and for others later.

The worry is that unlike other epochs that lasted for millions of years each, Anthropocene is certain to be like a blip in geological time scale. Before we know it, this planet could be done for!

Like that Tiger countdown clock in Sanctuary magazine.  The Tyger may have taken a good part of a geological epoch to burn “Bright, in the forests of the Night”, but its exit, as things stand, is going to be swift and certain.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority notwithstanding!  Why just the Tiger, other cats like the leopard cat, the jungle cat, the clouded leopard, the snow leopard, all of whom took thousands of millennia to evolve, may well go even before the Tiger’s certain extinction.  The vanishing act plays on for thousands of species, known and unknown.

Not only large scale species extinction within just a hundred years of Anthropocene is happening, we are now informed through well researched (as against speculative or spiritual) certainty that “We’ve Had It”.  The march of Anthropocene, now getting into a trot will soon be in full bloodied gallop.

Glaciers will melt in undue haste and ecosystems crumble within Five Year Plan periods.  To keep rivers away from polluting agents (including sewage, bathers and corpses) put them in underground tunnels.

The only way to stop free electricity to rich farmers is to let the aquifers dry up quickly. To lift people out of poverty keep lowering the poverty line.

The progressive mandarins in Anthropocene are bright infinite-growth magician economists, crammed like spineless sardines (there is much unemployment among them) into the World Bank, Finance Ministries and Planning Commissions of Governments.

Not all is lost though. The more frightened amongst us (usually the rich) have thought of a solution. Globalize. So if we are serious with cutting CO2 emissions let’s begin with the millions of culprits still cooking their food or fighting the cold on those polluting firewood chullas, constantly warming the planet.

It is imperative though that as much forest as possible must be cleared quickly to allow mining, so vital for a double digit economic growth rate. Hence NIB! You can grow as much food as you will, but the seeds and the pesticides and fertilizer can only be bought from global Corporations, Arab companies with American stakes and so forth.

Of course it is up to national governments to buy all your crops with a dearness allowance linked support price, tax the people to pay you and let the food grains rot.

Or are we getting it all wrong? Bodies may die, but souls live forever.  Somewhere out or in there some soul(s) know what has happened throughout geological history (there’s only a problem of accessing what they know), unless of course if we argue that souls only got manufactured alongside the anthropoid apes?

Do only individual species have souls or are there collective souls too, for example, coral reefs or Rain forests? Is there some Cosmic Computer where all souls (mind you they are eternal) are entered and kept track of? No clear answers.

Only the Himachal Public Works Department has dared to count souls whose number they display on little, yellow village name boards along highways.

The privatization syndrome has been unleashed; again at opportune moments in history of diverse, unsuspecting societies mostly of the Poor. As the juggernaut of Capitalism, masquerading as Globalisation, seeks newer areas to privatize or corporatize; rivers, forests, carbon sinks, biodiversity and now high seas.

Air space was privatized or nationalized when the Air Forces were born. The developmental wisecrack Think Globally, Act Locally seems to have been turned on its head; Act Globally, don’t think Locally; leaving billions worldwide to ask “What is a globe?”

Or are we still getting it wrong? What about outer space, the galaxies, the Cosmos?

So what if we’ve made a mess here.  Sci-fi propelled Hope is out there (though astronauts pine for mother Earth when they are out there).  Let neo-Liberalism’s Survival of the Richest play out and now with the God particle in our grasp, we’re surely headed for good times on the last of complimentary Kingfisher tickets.

Good times, but unlike we had on Earth before Anthropocene.

Nodnat - is a pen name that the writer with deep knowledge of Himalayan flora and fauna and a keen environmentalist has adopted. He hails from Kotgarh, in Shimla Hills and retired as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests from Himachal Pradesh forest department.

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