Anthropocene Anthropocene

An artist's rendering of what a Class V planet might look like under this new planetary classification system. Michael Osadciw/Courtesy of University of Rochester hide caption

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Michael Osadciw/Courtesy of University of Rochester

The Geologic History of Earth. Note the timescales. We are currently in the Holocene, which has been warm and moist and a great time to grow human civilization. But the activity of civilization is now pushing the planet into a new epoch which scientists call the Anthropocene. Ray Troll/Troll Art hide caption

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Ray Troll/Troll Art

The entrance to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Courtesy of Global Crop Diversity Trust hide caption

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Courtesy of Global Crop Diversity Trust

Can We Preserve Seed Diversity For The Future?

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Paleontologist Peter Ward speaking on the TED stage. Andrew Heavens/TED hide caption

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Andrew Heavens/TED

Are We Headed Into Another Mass Extinction?

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A child enjoying nature. Courtesy Emma Marris hide caption

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Courtesy Emma Marris

How Do We Embrace All Kinds Of Nature?

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Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara speaks at TED in 2016. Bret Hartman/TED hide caption

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Bret Hartman/TED

What's The Anthropocene?

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Humans have influenced Earth's history for thousands of years, though some scientists count changes of the last two centuries as especially notable. (Left to right) Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images; Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Liszt Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images; Joint Task Force One/AP hide caption

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(Left to right) Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images; Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Liszt Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images; Joint Task Force One/AP

When Did Humans Start Shaping Earth's Fate? An Epoch Debate

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A view of Seattle from the Bullitt Center. Brad Kahn/Flickr hide caption

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Brad Kahn/Flickr

Is Civilization Natural?

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Scientists who work for nuclear waste disposal projects in Finland, Canada and Sweden study an ice sheet in western Greenland. Courtesy of Vincent F. Ialenti hide caption

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Courtesy of Vincent F. Ialenti

Will the distant future give rise to exhibits of a human past long gone, much as we gawk today at representations of a dinosaur age we can only imagine? Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

Coprates Chasma in the Valles Marineris on Mars, photographed by the Mars Express spacecraft. Appearing in the top half of this image, it ranges from 60-100 km wide and drops 8-9 km below the surrounding plains. G. Neukum/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin hide caption

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G. Neukum/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin