The Evolution of Earth: Intensifying Global Change By Marie Bouffard/ECHO correspondent  The world is always changing and has...

Blog Series: The Science of Stewardship

The Evolution of Earth: Intensifying Global Change

By Marie Bouffard/ECHO correspondent 

The world is always changing and has been since the very beginning of Earth. While the environment may seem static, like it’s always been this way and always will, it is anything but. The Earth looked like a very different place at different points in its history. Over the past 4.54 billion years the Earth has seen mountains and oceans form, dinosaurs come and go, entire continents drift apart, and every species that has ever existed evolve from a single cell.

The world is always changing but it is easy to forget because most of these processes are incredibly slow and operate on a scale much longer than human history. Since humans have been around the environment has been relatively stable but we are beginning to notice changes in our world such as rising temperatures and ocean levels. The alarming thing about these changes is just how fast they are happening, at a pace so rapid there is no precedent in the entire history of the planet.

So why is everything changing so much faster all of a sudden and is it something we should be worried about? Scientists all over the world are growing more and more concerned about these changes and have realized that they are not natural. Human activities are impacting the planet by altering and speeding up processes through our pollution and use of resources. The planet has never dealt with such a threat from any life form and the ramifications of such big changes at such a rapid pace have the potential to impact all life on Earth.

It’s not all that surprising that humans can have such an impact when you consider the population and time scale we’re operating on. The population of humans has exploded from 1 billion people in the year 1800 to over 7 billion today, which is an incredible increase in what, on the Earth’s time scale, amounts to the blink of an eye. Human expansion is happening so fast that our population is doubling about every 50 years. We are living during a time when the human population is rising exponentially and this poses questions for us and the planet. Changing populations means changing patterns of resource use and demand so the question for us is, how we will take care of all these people without destroying our home?

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