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The Quaternary in turn is divided into two epochs—the Pleistocene, which began 2.58 million years ago, and the Holocene, which started 11,700 years ago and runs to the present.

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The recommendation might be that the term should remain informal, or that a decision should be delayed.So the scientists who argue that a new geological epoch has begun are not suggesting a faddish label for a current trend, comparable to the Jazz Age or the Dirty Thirties.They are declaring that the present is as different from the Holocene as the Holocene was from the Pleistocene before it.The nature of changes now occurring simultaneously in the Earth System, their magnitudes and rates of change are unprecedented and unsustainable.4.These phrases are not used lightly: the earth has entered a new epoch, one that is likely to continue changing in unpredictable and dangerous ways.Geologists divide the earth’s 4.5 billion year history into a hierarchy of time intervals—eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages—called the Geological Time Scale.

We live in the Quaternary Period, the most recent subdivision of the Cenozoic Era, which began 65 million years ago.

This radical transformation was first extensively described by the IGBP in 2004, in , a broad synthesis of scientific knowledge about the state of our planet that remains the most authoritative book on the Anthropocene.5 Since then, a great deal of scientific discussion has focused on a question that book did not answer: When did the Anthropocene begin?

Of course this has involved technical discussions among experts in various disciplines, but it is not just a technical question.

Human activities have become so pervasive and profound that they rival the great forces of Nature and are pushing the Earth into planetary terra incognita.

The Earth is rapidly moving into a less biologically diverse, less forested, much warmer, and probably wetter and stormier state.1Socialists cannot ignore a change of this magnitude, or treat it as just one aspect of our program.

The word Anthropocene, unknown twenty years ago, now appears in the titles of three academic journals, dozens of books, and hundreds of academic papers, not to mention innumerable articles in newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs.