The Anthropocene: Human Impact on the Environment
This interactive module explores key human impacts on the environment and how they have affected Earth’s landscape, ocean, atmosphere, and biodiversity.
Human activities are reshaping our planet in profound ways. The changes that have occurred in the last 50 to 200 years have led scientists to propose a new geologic epoch, called the Anthropocene. In this Click & Learn, students explore data on how human population growth, air pollution, agriculture, mining, water use, and other human activities have impacted the environment and will affect the fossil record.
The accompanying “Student Handout” guides students’ exploration. The “Educator Guide” contains several suggestions for implementing this Click & Learn in class, as well as discussion questions and additional background information.
The “Poster” PDF provides an accessible version of the content in this Click & Learn.
Student Learning Targets
- Describe how different human impacts affect the ecosystem.
- Interpret and summarize data presented in graphs showing human impacts on the ecosystem.
- Describe specific types of evidence that can be used to determine whether humans are changing their local environment.
- Predict how different impacts will change over the next 100 years based on the information and data provided.
atmosphere, biodiversity, biosphere, coastal habitat, farming, geologic record, invasive species, mining, ocean, water use
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HS-ESS2.A, HS-ESS3.A, HS-ESS3.B, HS-ESS3.D
I.A, II.A, II.B, II.C, II.D, II.E
1.3, 2.3, 2.5, 3.2, 4.1