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Ocean Anthropocene and Nuclear Pollution in the Ocean
(Bousbia-salah, 27) explains that, the past year has seen a lot of appreciation in the way
that human-mediated variety of species have changed the oceans biography. Humans have been
in existence on planet earth longer and have occupied many continents of the planet and in so
doing, they have directly affected more than 83% of the land surface. Such inhabitance on the
earth surface has influenced everything, and the general makes up of earth’s natural ecosystem to
the earth’s geochemistry which in itself also involves the atmosphere and the ocean. This is a
time in history that many scientists have tried defining and giving a name to; they have
unanimously agreed to refer to this time in earth’s history as Anthropocene. This geological
epoch has been widely influenced by the human scale of influence and the impact that human
beings have heard on this beautiful and vast planet.
(Dulvy, Nicholas and Holly, 59) explains that geological epochs are some of the concepts
that the scientists that study the earth or rather geologists and paleontologists make use in order
to study the broad concept of deep time effectively. They argue that these concepts of deep time
are defined by stratigraphic layers that are in their best biologically or chemically unique to each
other. Scientists study these epochs whose concepts are defined on a global level, and their start
and ending are dated or can be traced to specific points in time.
(Grindsted, 414) explains that the Anthropocene epoch closely follows the Holocene
epoch; its commencement is a subject of discussion and a debate that is waging war amongst
scientists and the involved bodies of entomologists and geologists. The international commission
on stratigraphy has strict guidelines that they follow so as to be able to define this time in history
as it’s biological and chemical composition and markers must be used effectively to mark out the
specific dates that these phenomena started. Many scientists still argue that this is an impossible
feat to achieve, as we as human beings are still within the variances of signs that should
distinguish current strata from the earlier ones.
This paper will in-depth cover and discuss the concept of the Anthropocene era and how
human involvement has affected it as well as critically analyzing the effects of nuclear pollution
in the ocean as a result of various human and natural activities that have shaped the oceanic
geological structure and affected the diverse plants and organisms that live in the numerous
oceans and lakes that we have in the globe.
(Paul, 40) explains that in the last few decades, forces related to Anthropocene have with
a huge significance and has driven rapid and exceptional rates of the shift in the earth’s system.
In the current age that we are living in, human activities and involvement have now given
competition to the forces that used to promote change to the general globes system and as such,
geologists and numerous stratigraphy bodies have concluded that our planet earth has now
entered a new geological epoch.
Some geologists and stratigraphy organizations have argued that the Anthropocene
commenced with the advent of the agricultural age. They argue so because they believe that
some activities that are related to farming and agriculture growth like the planting of rice in rice
paddies, it’s irrigation and deforestation may have significantly contributed to the rise of carbon
dioxide gas in the atmosphere and gases like methane that dates back approximately 8000 years
back. A lot of these professionals still hold that it was not that the advent of the renowned
industrial revolution that the exploitation of fossil fuels and the increase of energy use and the
population at large began to make us move far enough into this epoch.
We can all unanimously argue that no matter what era this phenomenon began, it today
has significance on the globe and the human beings that live in it. By defining a new epoch, as
human beings, we are embracing that the effects of our consequences on the globe are
irreversible and universal. (Previse, 37) informs us that climate change is one of the leading and
most conspicuous parts of the Anthropocene and it just serves to paint a vivid picture of how we
as human beings have worked to influence and affect the globe in a very negative way that
threatens the future generation of both the species and humans of the planet. The human activity
of damming rivers, passing roads and modifying public places has vividly affected the factors
that we are witnessing currently. All these considerations have played a crucial role in changing
the physical make up of our lobe.
(Saido, 45) tells us that the actions of humans have played a very major part in altering
the ocean in many numerous ways. The ocean is warming up in ways that we did not expect, and
as an effect, it continues to grow more and more in terms of stratification and the rise in sea
level. Although physical or tangible evidence of a slow in ocean circulation does not yet exist, it
is predicted that this shall happen in the near future as a result of the human activities and global
warming. The water bodies of the world, including all oceans and lakes, are being changed in
various ways by the existing human activities; as a result, these oceanic changes are expected to
leave an imprint in the sedimentary fossil record.
The current generation has most probably heard of the term global warming more than
any other previous generation of the human race. Major challenges like the increase in
greenhouses gases has adversely affected the radiation balance of the globe’s atmosphere and as a
result it has led to the increased temperature in the earth’s atmosphere and subsequently leading
to a meltdown of the polar ice that has resulted significantly to the rise in the ocean waters levels
and this has affected many a species in the oceans, because the water temperature has rapidly
increased any numbers of times than expected. The flowing part of this paper will aim at
showing the relationship of ocean Anthropocene and trace evidence that is presented by the
renowned artist Susan Schuppli.
Ocean Anthropocene In Relation To Tracing Evidence
DR Susan Schoppi is a renowned artist cum researcher whose work has won her
numerous awards and recognition. On her work or rather video on trace evidence, she explores
all the geological, meteorological and also factors of the hydrological appearance of traces of
nuclear evidence that is secreted in the molecular organization of matter (Schuppli). Her video
and research put a focus on three events or happenings that include, the discovery of ancient
uranium radiators at a site in Okio in the country of Gabon, a discovery of airborne particles that
are contaminants following the aftermath of the Chernobyl’s disaster and Fukushima power
nuclear plants respectively.
In her work, she shows how contamination has with time spread far from the ill-fated
nuclear power station to the Pacific Ocean all the way to the cost of Vancouver Island. She
primarily aims at showing how what is being ignored by many scientists can be a recipe for
disaster in the near future. Bio-diversity in the ocean has been contaminated by traces of these
particles of nuclear from the various nuclear power plants that exploded releasing traces of
nuclear materials in the water bodies such as oceans and in the atmosphere.
Nuclear tests that have been conducted deep in the coastal waters of Canada reveals that
there exists water bio-diversity such as planktons and other water plants and they have been
affected by such nuclear fallout, and the effects of such a phenomenon may be devastating as it
may lead to the death of animal and fish species in the numerous lakes and ocean around the
ocean. One more dangerous issue that lurks in the shadows is the issue of the nuclear molecules
that were released to the atmosphere during such eruptions of nuclear plants such as the
Chernobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi. Such materials can over time lead to a devastating effect on
the human race as they are a health hazard. She continues to explain that, within the
confinements of environmental work, defining the relationship that exists between cause and
effect has shown to be very difficult and strenuous.
Trace evidence by Schoppi relates to the issue of ocean Anthropocene as they both talk of
the global and geological disadvantages that may arise as an issue of having contaminated water
bodies with organic waste and trace of harmful nuclear waste. Both concepts clearly try to show
the effects that face mankind and the problems that have been developing with time over the
years without the knowledge of man. All the leading factors to such vices are solely the effects of
mankind on the environment. Human beings have over the years thrown waste into the water
bodies choking the fish all other sea animals and species that exist hitherto. Now nuclear plants
are exploding all over developed countries, and such nuclear molecules are being deposited into
water bodies, and this has the potential of wiping out an entire species of sea creatures and plants
and worse human beings.
Nuclear Pollution in the Ocean
Nuclear hazards that are related to both the United States weapons program and the
civilian nuclear power present a significant environment issue (Zabala, 215). Nuclear plants
secrete low levels of ionizing radiations and high levels wastes that pose great risks of
contamination events and series. Technologies that are related to nuclear such as the production
of electricity by using nuclear and making of military weapons by the use of nuclear materials is
a great danger waiting to happen as both of this process produces radiations that possess great
harm to the environment and the human beings at large.
Over the past millennials, we have seen massive explosions of power plants and other
nuclear reactors such as the Chernobyl and the Fukushima-Daiichi. Such explosions reveal a
huge amount of toxic materials to the atmosphere and at times to the water bodies that surround
such reactors and nuclear power plants. This becomes a major challenge as once the water
becomes contaminated; the species of fish and planktons in those water bodies become
susceptible to pollution and other risks factors including death.
It is apparent that governments and the human beings population at large have not given
much consideration into the dangers that face the mankind generation as result of the actions that
the same species of being is undertaking today. It is believed and argued by scientists that the
water bodies and oceans on the earth hold eight times as much of bio-diversity life as the animal
on dry land. It would be very sad that we, as human beings would put into danger that a whole
group of species under compromise just because of our careless actions have to date affected us
in our normal lives. Human beings play a very big role in the effects that affect the majority of
animals and plant species in the whole globe.
(Nuclear accident, 204) explains that, when scientists as a group discussion
environmental issues they put three main key factors into consideration. The first and foremost
factor that these scientists look at is the burden of environmental justice in reference to socialspatial distribution and the principles that are used in the allocation of risks. The second most
important factor that is put under consideration is the procedural justice or rather, how the
process is viewed as being equitable or inequitable, the third and last to look at is the recognition
of justice concerns about who is or is not worthy of being included in making decisions that
regard the allocation of hazard burdens.
Nuclear reactors pose huge environmental and health concerns that are present even
during the normal working hours of the plant’s operations. Employees face or are exposed to
low-level radiations and radioactive secretion from a wide variety of sources. In the United
States, commercial reactors that in operation have started aging and various individuals and
bodies have started raising concerns about the cooling systems leaking, the likelihood of fires,
contaminations cases and other accidents that may not normally have occurred before occurring.
The other part of this paper will focus more on the negative impacts that such accidents
bring to marine life when such accidents occur and such radioactive material leak into water
bodies and oceans and as a result spreading many hundred miles away like in the case of the
Chernobyl disaster and the sample traces that have been found 700 miles away in the cost of
Vancouver Canada. We shall discuss the effects of pollution of nuclear waste in the ocean with
references to the japans Fukushima-Diachi tragedy and look at how such happenings influence
marine life and other people, plants and animal species externally. Over the last century and
years, human beings have experienced and seen first-hand, explosions and countless tragedies in
the explosion of nuclear power plants and other reactors. Despite the occurrences themselves, we
have also witnessed incidents or cases in which radioactive materials have been dumped and
channeled into oceans and rivers.
(Waste in the ocean, 340) explains to us that, there have been cases where a British based
power plant channeled radioactive materials into the Irish sea, a French-related nuclear
processing plant having to dump similar waste materials into the English sea and many more
other cases of the Soviet over the years dumping huge quantities of Radio-active waste into the
Arctic ocean and the list goes on and on. All these incidents are an understatement compared to
what took the place of the cost of Japan in the case of Fukushima-Daiichi power plant tragedy.
Thousands of tons of radioactive components and materials poured in their large quantities into
the sea and spread hundreds of miles away, even though the size of the ocean has vast
capabilities of diluting the radioactivity, still to date, traces of nuclear components can still be
seen off the coastal waters of Japan, and such materials and traces are being found in small
concentrations in fish that are several miles away from the place that this incident occurred.
This contamination is still ongoing, but the manner in which it is deemed to affect marine
and aqua life and even humans is still not clear to scientists who study such occurrences and
topics. As a result of this, many people and activists find it convincing that the government of the
concerned countries, particularly the government of Japan, Korea, and the United States, should
need to increase studies to its scientists on how far and fast as well as the possible effects the
mentioned contamination might spread and increase and in what concentrations
(Zabala, 232) explains that, both short-life components of radioactivity such as iodine131 and other longer elements have the possibility of being absorbed by organisms like
phytoplankton’s and zooplankton and other aqua life and as a resulting consequence be
transmitted or passed up the food chain to smaller and big fish, mammals that live in the water
and humans at the top of the food chain. Concentrations of other key elements like plutonium
have been found outside the costs of Japan in the Fukushima plant, and this poses a grave danger
to marine life and human beings in the long run. Japanese officials have tried to incorporate
different remedies like simple fishing bans outside the costs of Fukushima hoping that this might
temporarily solve the contamination and spread issue of these harmful radioactive components.
The Russians have undertaken to study the effects of contamination in the water
following the release of many tons of radioactive components in the Baltic Sea by them. The
findings still remain unclear despite the numerous deaths of seals in the White Sea and the Baltic
Sea as well as the deaths of starfish in their millions and other creatures like Porpoises in the
White Sea. Though the findings are not clear, Russian scientists have attributed this to pollution
by nuclear contaminants (Previa, 94). It is the belief of a number of scientists that international
efforts should be put together to measure and get samples of radionuclides in the ocean, the
seafloor, and the marine life at large so as to be able to determine which heading can the ocean
jets reams and other oceanic currents be expected to transport these radioactive materials.
Radioactivity and nuclear activities have some numerous advantages that are of
immeasurable good to the human race at large, but if not properly contained and used, the same
radioactivity and nuclear materials pose a grave danger to the human race and other organisms in
the surrounding like plants, animal and the aquatic organisms. This paper has explored in a
profound way, the consequences that may come along as a result of nuclear pollution into the
ocean and other water bodies. Cases of nuclear pollution such as those witnessed in Chernobyl
and Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan have been covered and explored in depth in reference to the
effects that they have on aquatic life and the environment as a whole.
It is our sincere hope that any person who hall come across this paper and also take time
in reading related articles on nuclear waste and contamination in the ocean shall find the content
useful in avoiding pollution and it shall help and give them assistance in championing for
change. This paper has also explored the time in history that scientists call the Anthropocene
epoch in which the geological era was widely influenced by the human scale of influence and
activities and the impact that human beings had on the planet earth. The papers have explored the
vast concept of the Anthropocene era and involvements leading to nuclear pollution have
adversely affected this point and stage in history. This epoch also did a great job in shaping and
giving foam to the natural oceanic landscape, and the way ocean topography looks like in today’s
In relation to the same, this paper has also explored in depth the connection that exists in
the work of Susan Schoppi in her trace evidence on radiation and nuclear effects to the oceanic
water and marine life. It has shown the connection that exists in the nuclear waste that has been
deposited in the ocean and sees following the explosion of nuclear plants like the FukushimaDaiichi and the vast amounts of nuclear contaminants that have been found in the coastal waters
of Vancouver Canada.
Bousbia-Salah, Anis. “Assessment of water hammer effects on boiling water nuclear reactor core
dynamics.” Nuclear Technology and Radiation Protection, vol. 22, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1833.
Dulvy, Nicholas K., and Holly K. Kindsvater. “The Future Species of Anthropocene Seas.”
Conservation for the Anthropocene Ocean, 2017, pp. 39-64.
Grindsted, Thomas. “Algorithms and the Anthropocene: Finance, Sustainability and the Promise
and Hazards of New Financial Technologies.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2018.
“Nuclear Accident: Cesium contamination persists in ocean floor near Fukushima Daiichi site.”
Chemical & Engineering News Archive, vol. 93, no. 33, 2015, p. 7.
Paul, Holthus. “Part V Regional Perspectives on Global Ocean Governance, 16 The Role of the
World Ocean Council and the Ocean Business Community in Global Ocean
Governance.” The IMLI Treatise on Global Ocean Governance, 2018.
Previsic, Mirko. “Ocean Energy in the United States: An Overview.” Volume 4: Ocean
Engineering; Ocean Renewable Energy; Ocean Space Utilization, Parts A and B, 2019.
Saido, K. “Ocean Contamination …
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