Ben Laycock & Rilka Laycock-Walsh
Materials – Carbon ( coal & cardboard)
This work is about our collective ecological footprint.
Here on planet earth, we are currently enjoying the Holocene Era.
Sentient beings have been reaping the benefits of this era for some 65 million years.
Unfortunately for all of us sentient beings here on planet earth, this glorious era seems to be coming to an abrupt end. The boffins are telling us that our beloved planet is entering the unchartered waters of the Anthropocene Era.
Said boffins have predicted this era will be short and nasty. It will soon be replaced by The Catastrophocene Era. As the name suggests, the Catastrophocene will be a wild ride for the few hardy species that survive the Anthropocene.
Alas, it appears humans are unlikely to be among them.
It is predicted that the Catastrophoscene Era will last until the next giant asteroid hits the earth. Hopefully by then the diversity of life on earth will have recovered to such an extent that a few species will survive that inevitable shock.
As the chart below shows us, relatively stable eras on planet earth, are rudely interrupted by sudden mass extinction events on a fairly regular basis, roughly every 60 – 100 million years.
The earth needs at least 50 million years after a mass extinction event for life to recover its diversity to the point it was before the cataclysm. The last event was 65 million years ago. The world has recovered remarkably well in that brief interval.
It has matched the number of species present in the previous era, and surpassed it in leaps and bounds, adding an astonishing plethora of weird and wonderful creatures to the mix, including us. Misanthropes (and they are thick on the ground these days) might wistfully wish that a mass extinction event had happened just before humans turned up. But that did not happen, did it? We turned up…in great numbers, and made our present felt. Every species on earth is now feeling our presence, and don’t forget, despite our relentless depredations the present epoch is still the most diverse array of life that the earth has ever known. It seems a shame to go and ruin it all in one fell swoop. But not only is it shameful beyond measure, it is extremely dangerous. By inserting an extra extinction event into the cycle we create the very real risk of extinguishing all life on earth, every single species, bar none.
After 65 million years we are overdue for a natural mass extinction event. If that event happens to occur just after the human induced mass extinction event that we are working on at the moment, that will be a double whammy!
The old one-two, knock-out blow. Down for the count.
That is a ’big shame job,’ to have orchestrated the demise of 500 million years of glorious life on earth. Hopefully the few survivors, Jeff Besos, Richard Branson, Bill Gates and their concubines, having migrated to Mars by this time, will feel some remorse for what they have done.
Catastrophocene Era – 2020 – ?
Anthropocene extinction event – 1700 – ?
Holocene era – Present
Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event – 65 million years ago
Triassic–Jurassic extinction event -199 million to 214 m.y.a.
Permian–Triassic extinction event – 251 million years ago
Late Devonian extinction – 364 million years ago
Ordovician–Silurian extinction events ` – 439 million years ago
Julian Cribb has written a most illuminating piece in ‘Pearls & Irritations.’
Here Comes the Catastrophocene
Julian is an Australian science author. His latest books on the human future are “Surviving the 21st Century” and “Food or War”
I highly recommend you read all his books from cover to cover, taking copious notes as you go.
Julian Cribb is one of the few people in the world who know what the fuck is going on.
For light entertainment you could also read my essay,