Big History Project
Course: Big History Project > Unit 9Lesson 1: Transitions, Thresholds, and Turning Points in History | 9.0
WATCH: Threshold 8 — The Modern Revolution
The Modern Revolution began about 200 ago and created the world we live in today. Created by Big History Project.
Want to join the conversation?
- At1:53,what kind of robot is he showing?(10 votes)
- Most likely the Japanese robot "ASIMO".(1 vote)
- Is it possible to provide printable transcripts to support learners.(3 votes)
- There is a small collection of resources at the bottom of the Acceleration section, and that contains transcripts for most videos, including this one:
- If there are 7 billion people who all need resources that's including energy, can't we just use green energy to power the world if we ever get the money to do so? We can't just keep using coal and oil, because we'll run out.(2 votes)
- Most leaders of this world are short-term focused. In the short term, Oil and Coal are cheaper to mine, produce, etc. But in the long term, green energy is far cheaper.(1 vote)
- At1:56, was the drawing actually done during the Industrial Revolution, or was it made after?(1 vote)
- If u mean0:56, it probably was drawn at the time(1 vote)
NARRATOR: Threshold eight began about 200 years ago and we're living in the middle of it. We call it the modern revolution because it created the world we live in today. Some geologists call the modern era the anthropocene. That's the era in which the Earth came to be dominated by a single species, us. How did we suddenly get to be so powerful? First, we became a global species. After the year 1500, human societies began to link up across the world. This created huge exchange networks in which ideas, technologies, goods and belief systems could be shared. Because collective learning worked on a larger scale than ever before, innovation speeded up. A second ingredient played a crucial role-- our discovery of new sources of energy. The fossil fuels-- coal, oil and natural gas-- came from fossilized plants and organisms that had stored the energy from sunlight over hundreds of millions of years. Humans learned how to use that energy to power engines of all kinds. Eventually, we learned how to extract energy from nuclear reactions like those that drive the sun. Globalization, increased innovation and new energy sources allowed us to build the largest and most complex societies that had ever existed. Today, billions of people around the world can instantly communicate with each other. With abundant energy, a vast range of new materials from plastics to semiconductors, and an astonishing number of new machines, many humans live better than ever before. However, all of this new complexity has consequences. The energy and the food we produce has to support nearly seven billion people. That requires a huge portion of the Earth's resources. Human technology and activity is literally transforming the biosphere. We may be powerful, but are we really in charge of our power? What lies ahead for our own species and for the biosphere as a whole?