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Here’s Why Humanity Needs to Start Using a “Human Era” Calendar

It seems fair to say that as humanity’s problems scale, so too does its need to work together. And because this need seems to be growing, and because thinking of ourselves simply as Earthlings seems to be making more and more sense, maybe it’s time for the human species to get on the same page and use a singular calendar: a “Human Era” calendar.

The idea for this calendar, which originated with scientist Cesare Emiliani, is given the Kurzgesagt treatment in the above video, and after watching the argument laid out in such clear and logical detail, it’s difficult to deny how much sense this type of system would make.

Emiliani’s original idea was proposed to combat some pretty glaring issues with the current Gregorian Calendar. Some of these issues include “‘the birth’ of Jesus not being a universally recognized epoch event,” a lack of a year 0 (the calendar goes from 1 BC to 1 AD), and the confusion caused by counting down for BC but up for AD in terms of moving into the future.

The proposal for the calendar, dubbed the Holocene Calendar, would start 10,000 years before the current calendar, putting us (Earthlings!) in the year 12,016 rather than 2,016. The reason to start the calendar 10,000 years earlier is because of the establishment of Göbekli Tepe, which is believed to be the first-ever large-scale temple constructed by humanity.

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Göbekli Tepe, site of humanity’s first large-scale temple. Image: Wikimedia / Klaus-Peter Simon

The calendar seems like an especially appealing idea because no substantive changes would have to be made to the way we use our calendars in day-to-day life (we’d just add a “1” to the front of the date on everything). But the way we think about history in a grander sense would change dramatically—and we need dramatic changes to mark new epochs.

What do you think about the Holocene calendar? Are you looking forward to the year 12,017 HE or 12,017 AD more? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images: Kurzgesagt

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