I attended a lecture based on ‘Change us to suit the world: Living in the anthropocene and why designers need to act now’ by Kasunic, J.L. The lecture is about on how designing looks at possible outcomes or recognise solutions, for the anthropocene, a way to predict the future as world making in the present and in areas of ambiguity. As a visual communication designer it helps me understand and give a sense of how might other designers view to problems, “Not making new– making do,” involving around environmental issues such as human overpopulation, intensive farming, land use, animal and plants extinctions and predominantly climate change.
The global effect of human activities on the environment has now become so large, influencing on the Earth’s systems, “Humans have changed the Earth in a number of ways,” (Syvitski & Kettner, 2011) such as atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic and biospheric as it proposed the terminology ‘anthropocene,’ from anthropo, for ‘man’, and cene, for ‘new’ the current geological epoch in which humans and our societies have become a significant geophysical force. This epoch lies about two centuries ago, with James Watt’s design of the steam engine (1784) and the rise of Industrial Revolution (1800) before the date proposed by Nobel Prize- winning and former IGBP vice-chair Paul Crutzen and Collegue Eugene Stoermer (2000). Scientific literature used the word quickly to express the vivid degree of environmental changes on the earth caused by the humans.
It have provoked a great deal of interest and debates particularly scientists opposes the idea, saying solid evidence for a new epoch simply doesn’t exist. A stratigrapher at State University New York stated that, anthropocene is more about pop culture rather than major science. However, Will Stefen, a member of Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute says, “It will be another strong reminder to the general public that we are now having undeniable impacts on the environment at the scale of the planet as a whole, so much so that a new geological epoch has begun.”
I analysed a case in Cambodia proposing that water and sanitation are the processing issues in the undeveloped country. In the working environment especially agriculture, the Cambodians hardly have enough resources to help them in farming or other areas such as no access to electricity, using collected fuelwood for cooking and heavy reliance on expensive fertilisers and more. The biogas digester is a tool to adapt in this situation- a powerful, sanitation technology that process human and animal feces into safe and free fertiliser. The advantages of the biogas technology, it reduces groundwater contamination and indoors air pollution, decreases the usage of cooking gas and the CO2 emissions created during fermentation of openly-discharged sewage, which helps to reduce climate change.
Although, most of the society still neglect and refuse to acknowledge the situation of human’s influences on the global climate, they appear more willing to process on the fact that the current world is anything strongly under the influence, if not control and maintain society.
Monastersky, R. 2015, ‘Antropocence: The Human Age,’ Nature, 519: pp. 144-147.
Willams, M & Zalasiewicz, J. & Haywood, A. & Ellis, M. 2011, ‘The Anthropocence: conceptual and historical perspectives, The Royal Society Publishing, vol. 369, viewed 24 October 2015, <http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1938/842.short#sec-6>.
Oldfield, F. 2015, ‘When and how did the Anthropocene begin?’ The Anthropocene Review, vol. 2(2) 101.
Global Change. 2012, ‘Anthropocence: an epoch of our making,’pp. 13-15, viewed 25 October 2015, <http://www.igbp.net/download/18.1081640c135c7c04eb480001178/1376383107963/NL78-anthropocene.pdf>.
Steffen, W. & Crutzen, P.J, & Mcneill, J.R. 2007,’ The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the great Forces of Nature,’ Ambio: A Journal of Human Environment, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 36(8): pp. 614-621.
National Biodigester Programme. 2011, ‘Cambodia Biogas Digesters for Cambodians A Multi-Partner National Biodigester Program in Cambodia,’ National Biodigester Programme Cambodia, pp.1-9.
Photography taken by me.