Tuesday, July 8, 2008


My son was born in late January 2008. We named him North Ultima-Thule, with the reasoning that he is beginning his life in the beginning of a geological era marked by immense changes especially at the North Pole and the lands immediately south of that point.

A few weeks after his birth the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London declared an end to the Holocene Epoch, and the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch. The London Society is the world's oldest association of Earth scientists, founded in 1807, and its Commission acts as a college of cardinals in the adjudication of the geological time-scale.

The importance of the Holocene Epoch can be stated in short form and without much political controversy: It is the epoch of the last 10,000 years. The last 10,000 years is exactly when agriculture began, and agriculture created settled lifestyles which created the first cities. Before 10,000 years ago humans were like the cavemen in bad movies. ( Not a joke )

That epoch just ended.

We nailed it naming our son based on the epochal change occurring at his birth. While others are wasting their time fighting to turn back the Earth to previous epochs, I'm raising my son and adapting my family for life in the Anthropocene.

While I lack an understanding of the science behind declaring geological periods, I do have personal experience that witnessed the epochal changes. While in Antarctica in 1995-6 I worked amongst scientists while they were gathering evidence of the climate change. After leaving, I received a scary email from a friend still at Mcmurdo Station. He said the road to the airport runway had just melted, a road built across ice these authorities on geological stability assumed would never melt.

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