Change has been a constant from the beginning of time, yet the fear of change has also been a constant. Humans have preferred routine from the dawn of humanity. It gives us a sense of control over our life.
What is change?
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, 2500 years ago said ‘Change is the only Constant‘. While the statement sounds very contradictory it surely communicates an underlying truth that we all are aware of. In science too constant is a number that does not change and is used to derive more complicated results.
The change around us
We all see constant change around us. While the visible ones are the change of the day, the seasons and the weather. From a larger perspective, if we see, the earth too has gone through a lot of change.
How the earth has changed?
The Earth and its atmosphere are constantly changing. Plate tectonics shifts continents raise mountains, and moves the ocean bottom, whereas climate change is influenced by mechanisms that aren’t entirely known. Since the beginning of time, some 4.5 billion years ago, Earth has been marked by continual change.
Time is commonly measured in mya (million years ago) in geochronology, with each unit indicating a period of around 1,000,000 years. Earth’s history is split into four major aeons, beginning with the birth of the planet 4,540 million years ago. The greatest dramatic changes in Earth’s composition, climate, and life occurred during each aeon. After that, each aeon is subdivided into eras, which are then subdivided into periods, which are then subdivided into epochs.
a. Hadean (4540-4000)
This was the time when the Earth was made up of junk, accumulated around the solar protoplanetary disc, with no sign of life. Extremely scorching temperatures, frequent volcanic activity, and hellish-looking settings characterise this aeon. It’s a nebulous atmosphere. Early oceans or bodies of liquid water are a possibility. Due to the protoplanet collision with Earth, the Moon is formed at this time.
b. Archean (4,000–2,500)
Through the process of Abiogenesis, the prokaryote life, the initial form of life, originates during this aeon. Around this time, the continents of Ur, Vaalbara, and Kenorland may have existed. Volcanic and greenhouse gases made up the atmosphere.
c. Proterozoic (2,500–541)
Eukaryotes, which include certain multicellular organisms, arise as a more complicated form of life, thus the name which means “early life.” Bacteria begin to produce oxygen, forming the third and current atmospheres on Earth. Around this time, plants, later animals, and possibly earlier forms of fungi emerge. It is thought that during the early and late parts of this aeon, “Snowball Earth” periods may have occurred, in which the entire planet experienced below-zero temperatures. Columbia, Rodinia, and Pannotia, in that order, may have existed during this time period.
d. Phanerozoic (541–present)
In a process known as the Cambrian explosion, complex life, including vertebrates, begins to dominate the Earth’s waters. Pangaea originates and then disintegrates into Laurasia and Gondwana, which then disintegrate into today’s continents. Life gradually spreads to land, and familiar species of plants, animals, and fungi, such as annelids, insects, and reptiles, emerge, giving rise to the eon’s name, which means “visible life.” Several mass extinctions occur, with birds, non-avian dinosaur descendants, and, more recently, mammals emerging as survivors. At the most recent stages of this aeon, modern creatures, including humans, evolve.
How humans have changed?
In the book, Sapiens Yuvak Noah discusses how the earth has been shaped by three major revolutions: the Cognitive Revolution (70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago), and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago).
Humans initially appeared 2.5 million years ago in Africa. Multiple human species walked the globe together from roughly 2 million years ago to 10,000 years ago. Human evolution is not a linear progression, In reality, the two species coexisted.
HOMO SAPIENS WAS ONCE JUST ONE OF MANY HUMAN SPECIES AND WAS NOT PARTICULARLY DOMINANT AMONG THE LARGE MAMMALS.
Until 400,000 years ago, humans were firmly rooted in the middle of the food chain, and it wasn’t until 100,000 years ago that they ascended to the top. The interbreeding hypothesis and Replacement theory are two hypotheses about how Homo sapiens evolved. The truth is most likely a mix of both theories.
Cognitive Revolution (70,000 to 30,000 years ago):
This was a social evolution that allowed humans to spread over the globe and gain biological dominance
During this time many changes began to appear.
We began to walk upright in two legs, our hands evolved to perform intricate tasks and produce sophisticated tools. 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens jumped to the top of the food chain.
This period saw the invention of Boats, oil lamps, bows and arrows, and needles. The first things that can be confidently labelled art, as well as the first definite evidence for religion, commerce, and social stratification, all originate from this period.
When Sapiens began to dedicate practically all of their time and effort to influence the lives of a few animal and plant species 10,000 years ago, they ceased to be foragers.
In the last 2,000 years, no notable plant or animal has been domesticated.
Rather than ushering in a new period of ease of living, the Agricultural Revolution made farming more difficult and less fulfilling than foraging.
Wheat, rice, and potatoes were among the plant species that domesticated Homo sapiens, rather than the other way around.
The Scientific Revolution
Human power has grown at a phenomenal and unparalleled rate over the last 500 years.
The population has increased by 14 times, production has increased by 240 times, and energy consumption has increased by 115 times.
The development of the atomic bomb in 1945 not only altered the course of history but also provided humanity with the means to put an end to it.
Humans have evolved to believe that investing in scientific research can help them improve their capacities.
Adam Smith’s claim that the selfish human urge to increase private profits is the basis for collective wealth is one of the most revolutionary ideas in human history—revolutionary not just from an economic perspective, but even more so from a moral and political perspective. What Smith says is, in fact, that greed is good, and that by becoming richer I benefit everybody, not just myself. Egoism is altruism.
The earth we see is not our own,
the humans around were never known.
But change brought us where we are,
though today seems constant, don’t how far.
Tomorrow the world will evolve again,
from today don’t know what will change.
So let’s stay calm, and accept it all,
whether we survive or get washed let’s wait for the haul.
Google Earth, Google’s 3D virtual globe, has been providing breathtaking visuals of various places on the planet with just a click for almost 15 years. People may now witness how the Earth has changed over the previous 37 years thanks to its new Timelapse function.