Miocene – Pliocene – Pleistocene – Holocene – (unofficially) Anthropocene
These are the five most recent epochs according to the geologic time scale, which is the time scale system based on the composition of rock layers. In this system, the Miocene goes back 23 million years ago. The Anthropocene is an unofficial designation for our current epoch, when humans have significantly altered the planet’s climate and ecosystems. The word comes from the Greek words anthropo, for “man,” and cene for “new.”
Scientists debate on exactly when to designate the start of the Anthropocene. It could be the start of the Industrial Revolution when our greenhouse gas emissions took off with the invention of the steam engine and steam-generated power. Some scientists point to to the first atomic bomb which spread radioactive particles into the soil. Regardless of when exactly it started, it is mind blowing to think of the history of the earth on this time scale and consider how much impact we are making (inflicting?) on the planet in such a short time.
That realization urges us to consider our human activity and relationship to the planet. There are multiple lenses that we can and should take for this reflection and action. I value all the hard work scientists and researchers do to help us understand our world, the ongoing changes to our climate and ecosystems and what we can do to protect our earth. I also value the care of creation perspective and helping me consider our relationship to our common home and those we share it with.
What lenses do you find value in?