Welcome to the Anthropocene.

For those of you who retain some parochial vanity about being human, here’s a new badge of honor.

We have so transformed the face of our planet (and not in a good way) that geologists have declared a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

One of the defining features of this epoch is a die-off of wild plant and animal species on a scale comparable to the annihilation wrought by the asteroid that killed all the dinosaurs. Only five other times in the 4.5 billion history of the Earth has life on Earth undergone such a cataclysmic decline. This, the Sixth Great Extinction is unique in being the work of a single species.

Yay us.