Changes in dating over the years

The committee’s efforts have been strongly influenced by several recent efforts in the ESS community that have codified the essential sets of information in several fields.

These projects include the Earth Science Literacy Principles: The Big Ideas and Supporting Concepts of Earth Science [1], Ocean Literacy: The Essential Principles of Ocean Science K-12 [2], Atmospheric Science Literacy: Vast amounts of new data, especially from satellites, together with modern computational models, are revealing the complexity of the interacting systems that control Earth’s ever-changing surface. D: Global Climate Change Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts of Atmospheric Science [3], and Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences [4].

In this chapter, we begin at the largest spatial scales of the universe and move toward increasingly smaller scales and a more anthropocentric focus.These systems have differing sources of energy, and matter cycles within and among them in multiple ways and on various time scales.Small changes in one part of one system can have large and sudden consequences in parts of other systems, or they can have no effect at all.The rapidly rising number of humans on the planet—doubling in number roughly every 40 years—combined with increased global industrialization, has also stressed limited planetary resources of water, arable land, plants and animals, minerals, and hydrocarbons.Only in the relatively recent past have people begun to recognize the dramatic role humans play as an essentially geological force on the surface of Earth, affecting large-scale conditions and processes.Connecting the ESS to the intimate scale of human life, this idea explains how Earth’s processes affect people through natural resources and natural hazards, and it describes as well some of the ways in which humanity in turn affects Earth’s processes.

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