The Anthropocene as an epoch is distinct from all other concepts known by this term: a reply to Swindles et al. (2023)

Journal of Quaternary Science, Vol 38, No 4, 2023, pp. 455-458.

In this article, we emphasise that an evidence‐based approach in defining the Anthropocene strongly argues for its formal definition as a geological epoch with an onset in the mid‐20th century. We thus respond to Swindles et al. (2023), who correctly point out that there are many conceptions of the ‘Anthropocene’ in use; they argue that this flexibility in terminology is desirable. As members of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), the body charged with investigating the Anthropocene as a new unit of geological time, we offer alternative perspectives to key assertions made by Swindles et al. (2023). We agree that the multiple uses of this term have stimulated much scholarly debate, but we contend that precision in terminology is far more desirable than vagueness, and promotes more productive communication.



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