Article 37: The Holocene is the name given to the last 12.000 years of Earth’s history. The Holocene is witnessing all of humanity’s recorded history and the rise and fall of all its civilizations.
The Holocene Period of the Earth’s history lasts 12.000 years, from 12.000 years ago until today.
To observe a Holocene environment, you simply look through the window of your car!
The Holocene is the time since the end of the last major glacial epoch. Since then, there have been small-scale climate shifts, notably the Little Ice Age between about 1200 and 1700 CE, but in general the Holocene is a relatively warm and stable period in-between glacials.
The Holocene warming is an interglacial period and there is no reason to believe that it represents a permanent end to the current ice age.
Humanity has greatly influenced the Holocene environment.
While all organisms influence their environments to some degree, few have ever changed the globe as much, or as fast, as our species is doing. Human activity is being blamed for a die-out that has been going on since 12.000 years, commonly referred to as the Sixth Extinction, with an estimated extinction rate of 140.000 species per year.
The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity is responsible for global warming, an observed increase in mean global temperatures that is still going on. Habitat destruction, pollution and other factors are causing an ongoing mass extinction of plant and animal species.
According to some projections, 20% of all plant and animal species on Earth will be extinct within the next 25 years.
Yet, the Holocene has also seen the great development of human knowledge and technology, which can be used and are being used to understand the changes that we see, to predict their effects and to stop or ameliorate the damage they may do to the Earth and to us. Paleontologists are part of this effort to understand global change. Since many fossils provide data on climates and environments of the past, paleontologists are contributing to our understanding of how future environmental change will affect the Earth’s life.
Thanks to the University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology, to Lao Tzu, to Brainy Quote and to Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History