July 13, 2020, by Ross Wilson
Deep Time: why we need to think in terms of scale
In this podcast, we’ll be talking about scale. Specifically, how our ideas about scale can sometimes be misleading. We are human and operate on a human time-scale of days, weeks, months, years and decades. We think in terms of human life spans. However, we live in a world that is far older than that. The Earth is approximately 4 billion years old. Dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago and the first hominid, the biological family to which we belong, emerged between 1 and 2 million year ago. Modern humans first emerged in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Our time on this planet has been short. Yet, we have had such an impact. To understand this impact, to address problems in sustainability and to ensure an environment that allows our world to thrive, we need to think in the time spans that accurately reflect the Earth. We need to think about ‘deep time’.