In its endeavour to stimulate the minds of students towards the contemporary concerns of historians, the Department of History of Sri Aurobindo College(eve) organised a talk by Dr Mayank Kumar, who is a historian and an environmentalist. His activism is associated with creating more and more awareness amongst people towards the hazards of irreversible climatic changes which are a result ofuntrammelled human intervention with natural resources. He solicits teachers and students to join him in this activism of mammoth importance for humanity.
Debating Anthropocene captured vividly his ardour as a historian, to understand the process of irreversible climatic change-including a change in the existence of both the flora and the fauna. According to Dr Kumar, such was the seriousness of the process of change that it would not be unfair to say that after industrial revolution man-kind had embarked towards a new geological period-the Anthropocene period. Even earlier to the period of Industrial Revolution and Capitalism, production processes of Slavery and Feudalism had reined sources of energy for uninhibited production. But, since slavery and feudalism were harnessing human energy, there were limits to capacity enhancement of production processes. With Industrial Revolution and Capitalism, the extent of exploiting sources of energy including fossil fuels knew no bounds. Colonization and Imperialism further provided new avenues to assert human wrath upon nature. In the mid twentieth century there was acceleration in detectable human impact on the earth system. “The variety, magnitude and longevity of human induced changes to lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and atmosphere suggests that we should refer to the present not within Holocene epoch(as it is currently formally referred to) but instead as within the Anthropocene Epoch.” He reiterated again and again that in the Holocene epoch, climatic changes- and often of disturbing proportions- was a natural phenomenon, and therefore acquired normalcy with passing time. However, in the Anthropocene period since the large magnitude of change is a result of human intervention, it is irreversible. According to him, this was a cause of concern for humanity. His talk was particularly engaging as he proved his arguments with several examples including gradual invisibility of sparrows from the urban enclaves of metropolitan cities of India, declining number of Cheetahs from India, increasing havoc of termites with the gradual decline in the population of partridges, gradual concentration of lions only in the Gir forests of Gujarat, surprising rise in atmospheric temperature at unexpected months of the year, increasing havoc of floods in the coastal regions throughout the world due to increase in sea levels with the melting of glaciers etc.
The Department of History expresses its thanks to Dr Mayank Kumar for such a lucid presentation on such a relevant concern. The Department also wishes him the best for his present activism which is of immense significance.