‘The Changing World’ requires us to acknowledge the current state of the environment that has resulted from the interference of mankind. Mirzoeff asks us to “see the Anthropocene” (Mirzoeff 219); to recognise the damage we have done unto the Earth. He proposes that we adopt a broad, worldwide view (Mirzoeff 237, 253) in order to comprehend the way our actions affect not only the select environments we inhabit as individuals, but also the environments inhabited by other people in other parts of the world.
It is vital that we do this; the future of our Earth depends on it. Currently we are living in a state where denizens of a certain place only concern themselves with dilemmas of nature that affect them directly. For example, the palm oil industry in Brazil employs ‘legal deforestation’ in order to establish plantations, which decreases bird populations and increases carbon emissions (Watsa). This issue goes almost unrecognised in New Zealand, and we are doing very little to help prevent this. However, this will undoubtedly affect us in the long term… carbon emissions increase climate change, which affects the entire Earth.
Monet’s ‘Impression: Sun Rising’ aided in my understanding of how to “see the Anthropocene” (Mirzoeff 219). This image clearly exemplifies the obvious human changes made to Earth in its natural form. The focal point of the image should be the vast and beautiful expanse of ocean that occupies the lower half of the painting, but instead our eye is drawn to the rowboat in the foreground, the steamers to the left of this, and (most predominantly) the smog that forms the upper half of the image.