I am here when cities are gone.
I am here before the cities come.
I nourished the lonely men on horses.
I will keep the laughing men who ride iron.
— Carl Sandburg 
We owe Anthropocene to Paul Crutzen, winner of the Nobel Prize.
He believes that —
“The stratigraphic scale had to be supplemented by a new age to signal that mankind had become a force of telluric amplitude. After the Pleistocene, which opened the Quaternary 2.5 million years back, and the Holocene, which began 11,500 years ago, ‘It seems appropriate to assign the term “Anthropocene” to the present, in many ways human-dominated, geological epoch’”. 
This universe is 13.8 billion years old — we’re in the Phanerozoic Eon, which is divided in Eras, we’re currently in the Cenozoic; Eras are divided in periods, we’re in the Quaternary; these Periods are broken into Epochs, we’re currently living in the Holocene (the last 11,550 years of the Quaternary Period)…a matryoshka doll of time sets:
Humanity has managed to mess things up to such an extreme, that the geological time scale requires its signature: Anthropo, our cosmic We were here. To put our meager centuries next to eons and epochs…mere mortals like me see timescales in 1,000-year intervals; but it seems likely that Time will have to be updated. We face global post-corona problems: complex and accelerating challenges. Meanwhile, we live our lives scared, scarred, and shocked.
Could this this trauma be eased with naming the mess?
In The shock of the Anthropocene, Bonneuil & Fressoz are a big help on this quest for crisis nomenclature, which requires scientific consensus. This new age of the scale is by no means set in stone. Anthropo can be easily replaced: Phagocene, Capitalocene…Regardless of the permutation that sticks, we’re tasked with asking questions as old as civilizations: is it immoral to bring children into this world? Are we facing the beginning of the end?
Is this essay another example of apocalyptic porn? Maybe it is, nevertheless, it might be wise to consider the implications of our agency: we probably triggered a mass extinction event.
Here I will review some remarks — critiques and commentary — taken from French authors, about the concept in question. As with anything new and emergent, Anthropocene cannot be but pregnant of use and abuse.
Please, forgive the eschatological tone of my comments.
The legacy of our agency reverberates across Eons & Epochs. History is no longer enough to assess our impact and its consequences. In that sense, Anthropocene is important, “It attributes practical — that is to say, stratigraphic — truth to the notion of epoch as studied by a historian”. In other words, human agency should be measured in terawatts, a unit useful for massive amounts of energy — like the rumblings of a volcano, or the motion of plate tectonics.
It is no small thing to accept such a hypothesis: that humanity occupies a tangible locus in the Natural History of the planet, plastic being our cosmic smoking gun:
“[P]lastic is a disgraced material, lost between the effusion of rubber and the flat hardness of metal: it achieves none of the true productions of the mineral order: foam, fibers, strata.” — Roland Barthes, via “Plastic” (Myths, 1957).
To make sense of this word — and better navigate the vast chasm of time — , I also read some essays from Bruno Latour’s recent work about many of our biggest challenges. His work is renowned and notorious; his interdisciplinary forays are both praised and criticized. For this essay, it is important to say that Latour’s remarks agree with The Shock of the Anthropocene. Unfortunately, he agrees with his peers: that despite the warnings, the last chapter of humanity began on June 16th, 1945 —
“ Charles Fourier diagnosed ‘a decline in the health of the globe.’ The underlying source of evil was social: it was individualism that led to deforestation and the exhaustion of natural resources. ‘the climatic disorders are a vice inherent to civilized culture; it overturns everything… by the struggle of individual interest against collective interest”.  “The argument made by Bonneuil & Fressoz in The Shock of the Anthropocene is hard to refute: our predecessors have never stopped deploring the same catastrophe in the same terms, they have kept on warning us of the same threats.” . “The clear radioactive signals left by atomic explosions offer a serious candidate for the golden spike easy to detect throughout the world.” 
This “debatable term for an uncertain epoch”  calls upon us to live with the consequences of our actions. There is no turning back; it is not enough to recycle. To cry and rend our clothes — with tofu-filled mouths; our wallets collecting benjamins — is no longer enough. The vegan performance falls short; we ate the planet & ignored the Cassandras…History is filled with ignored Cassandras. It was not enough with nuclear fission & fusion. Nothing gets in the way of our drive to eat and not be eaten; making our lives harder along the way, breaking epigenetic imperatives.
Guilt is undesired progeny
Always. No one claims it; as recent as the past may be (emphasis on recent: 523 years is recent, stratigraphically speaking). This past was written by Spain, Portugal, France, USA, The British Empire, Holland, Belgium:
After all, the “humanity” that put most of the greenhouse gases into the
atmosphere, created global commodity markets that have industrialized agricultural land use, started the sixth great extinction, and contributed most of the toxins and plastics that line the world — in other words, the anthropos of the Anthropocene — is good old homo europeanus”.  To their ears, the term seems to celebrate human control and putting selfish human interests first. This is a traditionally environmentalist objection to human selfishness and hubris. 
Becerrillo gnawing taíno bones…Was this written in the Portuguese sky 5 centuries ago? Where bellies of transatlantic vessels — filled with West Africans — inevitable?
Antropo is too inclusive a prefix; Anglo seems much more appropriate:
Europeans needed sugar for their coffee. Americans wanted to taste exotic bananas & pineapples — despite high latitudes. Today — centuries after the rape of the sunniest and most bountiful regions of the planet — millions of species face global challenges caused by a hungry Global North:
To avoid further deterioration and irreversible damage to natural and societal systems, there will need to be a global and rapid decoupling of detrimental impacts from economic activity. Whilst a number of countries in the Global North have recently managed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions while still growing their economies, it is highly unlikely that such decoupling will occur more widely in the near future, rapidly enough at global scale and for other environmental impacts. This is because renewable energy, electrification, carbon-capturing technologies and even services all have resource requirements, mostly in the form of metals, concrete and land. Rising energy demand and costs of resource extraction, technical limitations and rebound effects aggravate the problem. It has therefore been argued that “policy makers have to acknowledge the fact that addressing environmental breakdown may require a direct downscaling of economic production and consumption in the wealthiest countries. 
What happens if we, as a species, resolve our energy problem — a massive set of circumstances that cannot be divorced from History, but should not be shackled to it —? Should we keep planet-hopping until we find another Goldilocks locus, another ideal circumstance for life? If everything goes according to centuries old reverberations — persistent echoes of the Industrial Revolution — we will eat solar systems…
The Anthropocene — the epoch dominated by human agency; and, therefore, a Biosphere forever tainted by it — cannot be avoided. Massive migrations, new weather patterns, pandemic cycles, emergent relationships with dynamic ecosystems, etc., are just a few of the problems that will occupy humanity for the next few centuries. None of these challenges could be met without collaboration at a global scale.
We cannot afford to ignore anymore Cassandras.
Read the Spanish version of this essay here:
Published by vocES:
 Sandburg, Carl.
[2–3] Bonneuil, Cristophe and Jean-Baptise Fressoz.
 Latour, Bruno.
[5–7] Bonneuil, Cristophe and Jean-Baptise Fressoz.
[8–9] Bonneuil, Cristophe and Jean-Baptise Fressoz
 Latour, Bruno.
 Wiedmann, T., Lenzen, M., Keyßer, L.T. et al. Scientists’ warning on affluence. Nat Commun 11, 3107 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16941-y
Sandburg, Carl. Selected Poems. p. 177. Ed. George Hendrick and Willene Hendrick. USA: Harcourt Brace, 1996.
Latour, Bruno. Facing Gaia: eight lectures on the new climatic regime. Polity: Massachusetts: 2017.
Bonneuil, Cristophe and Jean-Baptise Fressoz. The shock of the Anthropocene. Brooklyn: Verso, 2016.