Anthropocene (æn’ thrō pō seen) A new, if informal, term for the current epoch of geohistory, describing the past 250 years in which mankind’s actions have begun having a significant impact on the earth and its environment.
The epochs of the Tertiary and Quatenary Periods combine the root word “cenes” (from the Greek for “recent”) with other terms. Thus we have the Tertiary Period’s Paleocene (“old-recent”), Miocene (“less-recent”) and Pliocene Epochs (“more-recent”).
Anthropocene comes from combining a Greek term for human with the “-cene” root.
Until now earth has been considered to be in the Holocene Epoch (10,000 years ago – Present, “wholly recent”) in the Quatenary Period – and that’s still the official designation. But increasingly, many scientists are arguing that we have turned a corner and from the Industrial Revolution on have been in a new phase in which our climate and environment are definitively affected by man-made pollution, greenhouse emissions and other factors and that that fact should be acknowledged.
In other words: the Age of Global Warming.