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9. Acceleration
Just 500 years ago, humans lived in four separate world zones, each with distinct cultures and technologies. Now, humanity is linked within one interconnected network of information and commerce that spans the entire planet.
All content in “9. Acceleration”

9.1—The Anthropocene

For most of the past 10,000 years or so, the biosphere has been a fairly stable and predictable place. But data from the last 250 years shows the biosphere is rapidly changing. This new epoch can be called the Anthropocene to reflect the tremendous impact that humans now exert in the biosphere.

9.2—Changing Economies

Smith, Marx, and Keynes – acceleration gave rise to three dynamic thinkers who had great influence on the ideas of commerce, labor, and the global economy.


Review Big History vocabulary and take the Glossary Challenge.

Other Materials

Access a range of other materials to support learning about this unit.


Download the teacher resources from the Big History Project classroom version of this course. Text transcripts for videos are also available.