Some scientists are trying to name our current geologic epoch after us - calling it the Anthropocene. That's no brag, because most of the changes we're making to our planet are embarrassing. We've caused huge shifts in the plants and animals sharing Earth with us, driven many species to extinction, left a layer of radioactive fallout from nuclear bombs, accidentally changed the composition of our atmosphere, and left a layer of plastic that will in all likelihood still be around in a million years.

Long after time and erosion have turned all our feats of art and engineering to dust, our mess will remain. Naming this era after ourselves is more of a confession. That acknowledgement is a first step towards strategies for minimising our damaging influence.

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