It comes to no surprise that humans have a huge impact on the Earth, but scientists are saying that it is leading to a new geological period of time. The Anthropocene, or human-made era, is what scientists are insisting on calling our current time period due to severe human impact that has lead to “global soil change.” The era is to be defined by the human impacts on soil and geology.
Daniel Richter, of Duke University, states that the Earth is already showing a lack in the ability to support agriculture and biodiversity. Water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles are also being affected by the damaged soils. Jan Zalaseiwicz, of the University of Leicester in England, says that the fossil and soil records of our time will show specific signatures that will be more obvous in the future. Scientists say that our time era will appear as suddenly as the meteroite that is believed to have killed the dinosaurs, and cause the end of the Cretaceous era.
Due to contamination and changes in the climate, even the most remote areas of Earth are being affected by soil change. There are few reasons for the decline in soil health, many lead back to uneducated people abusing the soil. Soil is very delicate and sensative to change, more so than we used to think. In many parts of the world soil is being overused, such as in Asia and Africa. Soil is being tilled for food, but once the food is harvested no nutrients are being replaced back into the soil. Just struggling to stay alive, many are using manure to keep their stoves burning, instead of placing it into the fields. These same people most produce enough crops to stay competetive, but due to their lack of knowledge about the soil they do not realize that if they took the time to care for the soil they would actually be better off.
Soil degredation is also affecting climate change. Soil holds more carbon than the atmostphere and that which is found in vegetation, because of the organic materials that make up the soil. When this organic material is exposed, the soil loses it’s ability to hold carbon. In the last half century soils have lost a hundred billion tons of carbon which is being let out into the atmosphere.
Soil erosion is natural, but humans are creating ten times more soil erosion than that of natural causes. Humans are also depleting the soil ten times faster than it can be replaced. The new idea of the Anthropocene era has yet to be approved by the International Union of Geological Sciences, and it will be a years until they even review this new era.