A recent article by Stephen Trimble (for Writers of the Range) promotes the concept of an Anthropocene Era, a geologic period that started with the beginning of Industrial Age of man:
Many scientists now believe that we have entered the Anthropocene. In just two centuries of this “human-dominated recent time period,” beginning with the Industrial Revolution, we have transformed half of the Earth’s land surface, changed global climates and triggered losses in biodiversity. Animals slip away as we destroy their habitat, at extinction rates 45 times greated than the long-term average (for mammals) and 270 times greater than average for rain forest species.
In the Anthropocene, 7 billion people everywhere insert themselves into delicately interwoven systems. Bio-crusts carpet the soil in dry country. Disturb that living crust in the redrock canyons of the Four Corners with a careless boot print, too numerous livestock, or a freewheeling all-terrain vehicle, and you liberated dust to blow onto the snowpact in the Rockies.
Dark snow melts faster than clean snow, and the spring runoff now comes 50 days earlier in the Colorado River Basin, with stark consequences downstream.