FLORIA GONZALEZ

LOST IN STRATA

2019

In a past civilization where a species very similar to humans arrived to the same place we are now, with the industrial revolution and technology at its peek, there was a moment when they reached the same Anthropocene epoch we have reached today, increasing exponentially the risk of there own extinction. The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth's geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change. (Wikipedia). Climate modeler and director of NASA Goddard Institute for space studies Martin Rees and astrophysicist Adam Frank say, “Next comes the issue of longevity—the longer a civilization’s energy intensive period persists and grows, the more obvious its presence should become in the geologic record. Consider our own industrial age, which has only existed for about 300 years out of a multimillion-year history of humanity. Now compare that minuscule slice of time with the half-billion years or so that creatures have lived on land. Humanity’s present rapacious phase of fossil fuel use and environmental degradation, Frank says, is unsustainable for long periods. In time it will diminish either by human choice or by the force of nature, making the Anthropocene less of an enduring era and more of a blip in the geologic record. “Maybe [civilization like ours] has happened multiple times, but if they each only last 300 years, no one would ever see it,” Frank says.

So the possibility of many civilizations similar to ours having existed is very high and it means we are getting lost in time and space. Devoured by plants and water, overtopped by rocks. We have appeared and disappeared many times thinking we have left a print in history, leaving a forever question of what is the truth; what we are here for, what matters more in this reality, who ́s experience is this, every single question humanity has made during our life time will forever be just questions, answers and stories whispered by the trees, by the sea and the sky, this story lost in layers, in strata. Information lost, transformed by this beautiful world.

“Taking all this into consideration, what remains is a menu of diffuse long-lived tracers including fossil fuel combustion residues (carbon, primarily), evidence of mass extinctions, plastic pollutants, synthetic chemical compounds not found in nature and even transuranic isotopes from nuclear fission. In other words, what we would need to look for in the geologic record are the same distinctive signals that humans are laying down right now”. (Rees and Frank)

British cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees says, The dawn of the Anthropocene epoch would then mark a one-off transformation from a natural world to one where humans jumpstart the transition to electronic (and potentially immortal) entities, that transcend our limitations and eventually spread their influence far beyond the Earth. Even in a cosmic time-perspective, therefore, the 21st century is special. It marks our collective realization that the Anthropocene has begun – and it’s a century when human actions will determine how long that epoch lasts.