The present geological period, characterized by humanity's effects on global climate and ecology.
The overwhelming consensus of scientific research indicates that human activity is exacerbating climate change. Some scientists even have begun referring to the present period in Earth's history as the anthropocene (from the Greek for man and new), in recognition of the extent to which man influences the environment.
"Constant Change," The Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 28, 2006
Field Notes [to a Catastophe] began as a series of articles on climate change that appeared in The New Yorker in 2005. The series earned Kolbert the 2005 AAAS Science Journalism Award, and kudos from the climate scientists at RealClimate.org for "doing an impressive job of getting the facts straight." It ran under the title The Climate of Man, an allusion to "anthropocene," a term for the current epoch, coined by Nobel Prize-winning Dutch chemist Paul Crutzen to describe the dramatic effect humans are having on the planet.
Hannah Hoag, "Baby, it's warm outside," The Globe and Mail, March 18, 2006
Considering these and many other major and still growing impacts of human activities on earth and atmosphere, and at all, including global, scales, it seems to us more than appropriate to emphasize the central role of mankind in geology and ecology by proposing to use the term 'anthropocene' for the current geological epoch. ...
To assign a more specific date to the onset of the 'anthropocene" seems somewhat arbitrary, but we propose the latter part of the 18th century. ... [W]e choose this date because, during the past two centuries, the global effects of human activities have become clearly noticeable.
Paul J. Crutzen and Eugene F. Stoermer, "The Anthropocene," Global Change Newsletter, May 1, 2000