Words we will need for the Anthropocene #01: “thermokarst”

Dan Savage, the advice columnist, often tells people with problems because of an impasse with their significant other(s) [too much sex, not enough sex, the wrong kind of too much sex, whatevs] that they should ‘use their words.’

It’s good advice, and doubtless the Habermasians in the cheap seats will heckle something about Gricean maxims, or Ideal Speech Communities or whatever.

We’re well on the way into the “anthropocene” (a contested-af term – see also capitlocene, cthulucene (I shit you not), planatationocene, whatsmycene etc etc).

And like with any New Thing there are new words to become semi-familiar with, so you can throw them around in tweets and at dinner parties (or, looking a year or two into the future, ‘food package competitions’).

So, here’s the beginning of a new occasional series – words we will need for understanding-signalling the anthropocene (fwiw – ain’t hardly nobody got no virtue to signal).

And the first word is…

drumroll please…

Thermokarst

Wtf is a thermokarst?

According to the Financial Times article I got it from –

“One of those crazy things is that lakes are forming — a lot of them — as permafrost melts. These pools, known as thermokarst lakes, are spreading rapidly. And the microbes that produce methane thrive on all the newly thawed organic material at the bottom of these new lakes.”

If you have suggestions for other “Anthropocene Words”, let me know…

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