2020

2019

The entire human race is thrown into chaos by a tiny but deadly virus. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused the human economy to more or less shut down. Meanwhile, climate breakdown continues even though fossil fuel emissions dip slightly. “Things will never be the same again,” as many people push for green opportunity now. No more “business as usual” which will certainly cause terrible destruction and suffering if it does.

2020 will likely be the hottest year
since measurements began (NOAA).
CO2 reaches 417ppm

Tropical Cyclone Idai, one of the worst storms ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, causes devastation in Mozambique with hundreds of thousands of people made homeless and more than 1000 dead 7,700,000 people on the planet

2018

2017

2016

Fourth hottest year
on record

Greta Thunberg, 15-year-old Swedish schoogilrl, hits the headlines after she starts school strike for climate movement.

Climate scientists warn that carbon pollution (burning fossil fuels) will have to be cut in half by 2030 and stopped totally within 30 years.

USA, under newly-elected president Donald Trump, opposes climate change regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and the 2015 Paris Agreement

Strongest El Niño ever recorded in Pacific affects the weather all around the world, causing serious droughts in many places and heavy rainfall and flooding in others. Cyclone Wiston devastates parts of Fiji (South Pacific)

Zika virus spreads through South America

2016

2015

2014

2013

2016 even hotter
than 2015

Earth over 7.4 billion people on the planet

Category 5 cyclone devastates Vanuatu (South Pacific) with winds up to 200 miles per hour

United Nations Climate conference in Paris, France: At last, agreement to cut carbon pollution and try to keep global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius

2015 is the hottest year
since records began

Ebola epidemic finally under control after killing thousands of people in west Africa

Whales saved! The International Court of Justice rules that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program must stop immediately. It doesn’t!

CO2 levels over 400ppm for first
time in at least 2 million years

One of the most powerful typhoons ever hits Philippine islands killing over 6000 people

Nelson Mandela, former South African President, dies aged 95 and the world mourns a very great man.

7,100,000 people on the planet

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

Hurricane Sandy devastates parts of Caribbean, Bahamas, eastern USA and Canada. Typhoon Bopha kills well over 1000 people in the Philippines

Now over 7 billion people on the planet

Gulf of Mexico oil pollution disaster

Disastrous floods in Pakistan

Swine flu pandemic

United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark. No agreements on action

Cyclone Nargis hits the Irrawaddy Delta, Burma, killing about 78,000 people

International scientific report says that global climate change is “very likely” to be caused by humans. Global money crisis begins

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

Chinese River Dolphin or Baiji becomes extinct

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami kill 290,000 people

US-Iraq war

Congo (Africa) wars end after 3.8 million deaths mostly from starvation and disease

Oil tanker ‘Prestige’ sinks off Spain causing a huge oil spill

US president rejects Kyoto Protocol

Human genome unravelled

Genetically modified plants now grown in many countries

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation set up

1999

1998

1997

1996

1995

1992

1991

1990

CO2 levels around 368ppm

Now over 6 billion people on the planet, 3 times as many as in 1927

Hurricane Mitch kills 18,000 people in central America

Kyoto Protocol: agreement to reduce production of greenhouse gases such as CO2
First Harry Potter book published

First DVDs

DNA First clone of adult mammal, Dolly the sheep

First blog sites

international agreement Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro

World Wide Web begins operation at CERN in Europe

War in Iraq

1989

1987

1983

1986

1985

1983

1982

1981

1980

World Wide Web invented

Exxon Valdez tanker creates largest oil spill in US history in Alaska Montreal Protocol: agreement to stop using chemicals which destroyed the ozone layer

CO2 levels around 348ppm

Now over 5 billion people on the planet

First mobile (cell) phones in use

Chernobyl (Ukraine) nuclear reactor explodes (26 April)

First CDs

First camcorder

war Arab-Israeli war

First filmless (digital) camera
deathThe disease AIDS first recognised. It has since killed at least 25 million people

Iran-Iraq war begins, ending 1988

1977

1976

1975

1973

1971

1970

1969

1961

Weird animals discovered living round ‘black smoker‘ hot water vents on deep sea floor near Galapagos islands

First video cassettes: VHS

CO2 levels around 330ppm

Now over 4 billion people on the planet

war Arab-Israeli war

NGO Greenpeace founded

Cyclone hits what is now Bangladesh, killing half a million people

First people walk on the Moon: Apollo 11, 20 July; a triumph for the USA

First version of the Internet (ARPANET) launched in USA

First person in space: Yuri Gagarin, a Russian test pilot

Vietnam war begins (ends 1975)

1960

1957

1956

1954

1953

1952

1948

1947

CO2 levels around 315ppm

Now over 3 billion people on the planet

First artificial satellite launched: Sputnik 1 — a first for Russia

First trials of birth-control pill (in Puerto Rico)

First nuclear power station (Russia). Nuclear electricity soon would be “too cheap to meter,” says US Atomic Energy Commission.

DNA Structure of DNA molecule unravelled

First jet airliner
health First vaccine against polio

Korean war begins, ending 1953

First Arab-Israeli war

Transistors invented

1945

1942

1939

1933

1930

1930

1928

1925

World War 2 ends, the largest and deadliest war in human history with around 62 million people dying. First atomic bombs dropped on two Japanese cities.

NGO Oxfam founded

War continues

World War 2 begins

First jet aircraft: Heinkel 178.

Polythene plastic invented

Chinese civil war begins, lasting for 4 years.

CO2 levels around 305ppm

Now over 2 billion people on the planet

First antibiotic (penicillin) discovered

First television

1918

1917

1915

1914

1913

1908

1907

1906

1903

1901

World War 1 ends; 9 million soldiers killed

Flu epidemic kills 25 million worldwide

Russian revolution begins, ending 1921

First poison gas (chlorine) used in war

World War 1 begins

Henry Ford begins first mass production of cars

First assembly-line mass-produced cars

First plastic – Bakelite

First electric washing machine

yFirst powered aircraft

First radio transmission

100 years ago =
1 century

1896

1886

1884

1876

1872

1861

1860

1858

1855

CO2 levels around 295ppm

Global warming first predicted by Arrhenius

First gasoline-powered cars

First steam turbine generates electricity

First telephone

First US national park: Yellowstone

United States Civil War begins (ends 1865)

First oil refining (to make kerosene) at Baku, Azerbaijan

First weather forecasts

Theory of evolution by natural selection (Darwin and Wallace)

Mass production of steel begins

1842

1837

1834

1821

1805

1804

1800

1796

1737

1712

1709

First anaesthetic (ether) used during surgery

Steel plough invented making ploughing much easier

First roads stablilised with tar for wheeled vehicles

First electric motor

First refrigerator

First steam locomotive built (railway engine)

CO2 levels around 280ppm

Over one billion people on the planet for the first time

First vaccine (against smallpox)

First accurate clock (chronometer)

First steam engines working, powered by coal

First blast furnaces for making iron on a large scale, using coal instead of charcoal. Beginning of the Industrial Revolution

1500

1492

1454

1347

1300

1095

CO2 levels around 280ppm

About 500 million people on the planet
CO2 levels around 280ppm

Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) ‘discovers’ the Americas, a tragedy for the people who already happened to live there.

First printing press

‘Black Death’, bubonic plague, begins in Europe, killing around one in three people (about 200 million), the worst epidemic in human history

Alcohol distilled to make spirits

1000 years =
1 millennium =
One thousand years

800

600
400

2000 0 AD

2300
2500
3000

4000

5000

CO2 levels around 280ppm

About 300 million people on the planet

First rockets and bombs using gunpowder (China)

First human migrations to New Zealand. Megafaunas extinct shortly after.

First gunpowder (China)

First windmills (Iran)

First oil wells drilled (China)

Sugar made in India

CO2 levels around 280ppm

About 250 million people on the planet

5500

6000

7000

8000

9000

10,000 years =
Ten millennia =
Ten thousand years

People invent writing (Egypt; Iraq)

First iron made by smelting iron ore

Wheels used for transport (cart, east Europe)

Egyptians discover how to make bread

Fermentation to make alcoholic drinks in use (Middle East)

Cattle and chickens farmed (India; Pakistan)

CO2 levels around 270ppm

About 5 million people on the planet

11,000

11,550

12,000

13,000

14,000

15,000 to
19,000

People growing crops like wheat and peas. Goats and sheep domesticated

CO2 levels around 270ppm

Last Ice age ends after 1000-year freeze-up CO2 levels around 270ppm

(Middle East)

Earliest city (India)

First human migrations into the Americas. Megafaunas extinct shortly after.

Main Ice age ends and sealevels rise up to 120 metres all around the world

20,000 =
Twenty thousand years

30,000
40,000
50,000
60,000
70,000
100,000 =
One hundred thousand years
125,000
200,000
1,000,000 = One million years
2,000,000

CO2 levels around 280ppm

Last Ice age at its peak. Ice covers most of Britain and Canada.

First humans in Australia. Megafaunas extinct shortly after.
First humans migrate into Europe and north Asia. Many megafaunas go extinct.
First humans migrate into Asia. Much of megafaunas extinct shortly after.
Height of warm period (interglacial) between Ice age conditions, lasting about 15,000 years. Temperatures like today’s but sea levels up to 8 metres higher
CO2 levels around 280ppm
First modern humans evolve in east Africa

3,000,000

4,000,000
10,000,000 =
Ten million years

20,000,000
30,000,000

40,000,000

50,000,000
60,000,000

Main Ice ages begin affecting most of the planet, continuing on and off until 11,500 years ago

CO2 levels around vary between 160ppm (glacial periods)
and 300ppm (warm interglacials)

First penguins (yesssss!!!)

Ice age begins to build up in Antarctica.
Climate very warm. First grasses
First large mammals

65,000,000

70,000,000
80,000,000

90,000,000

100,000,000 = One hundred million years

200,000,000

230,000,000

Asteroid hits Earth causing mass extinction. Volcanoes erupt in India producing half a million cubic kilometres (!!!) of lava. Many life forms become extinct, notably the dinosaurs

First Tyrannosaurus and other large, flesh-eating dinosaurs
First theropod dinosaurs, a very successful group which were the ancestors of birds and large land flesh-eating dinosaurs. They had three toed feet and walked upright (bipedal)

First dinosaurs — this one is just coming out of its egg —  and mammals. Life recovers slowly after the worst mass extinction ever.

251,000,000

300,000,000

310,000,000

400,000,000

Mass extinction of almost all life. 95% of all life dies

Ice age

All kinds of living things flourishing. Remains of vast forests become coal and other fossil fuels

First simple land plants.

450,000,000

500,000,000

542,000,000

600,000,000
700,000,000
800,000,000
900,000,000

1,000,000,000 = One billion years = One thousand million years

Ice age

Sudden “explosion” of animal life: shellfish, trilobites and many others

First animals with many cells (Ediacarans) sponges and worms

Ice age during which almost the entire planet was frozen solid for around 200 million years (Cryogenian Period)

1,800,000,000

2,000,000,000

2,400,000,000

3,000,000,000

3,400,000,000

3,500,000,000

First complex single cell life (cells with central nucleus: eukaryotes)

Banded iron formations (iron-rich rocks) start to form on a large scale. This meant that there was free oxygen in the atmosphere which ‘rusted’ iron minerals to the red oxide colour. The oxygen was the waste

Banded iron formations reach their peak, forming in shallow seas all around the planet, especially Western Australia

First oxygen-making (photosynthesising) bacteria begin to alter the atmosphere

First definite life on Earth formed mounds called Stromatolites (Western Australia). But the first life forms (Jack Hills, Western Australia) may be as old as 4.1 billion years old

4,000,000,000

4.28 billion years

4,400,000,000

Oldest-known rock: 4.28 billion years, Hudson’s Bay coast, Canada

Oldest-known mineral on Earth


4,543,000,000
(4.543 billion years ago)

The sun and its solar system of planets (including Earth) form. Shortly after Earth forms, it is hit by a small planet. A large blob spins off to form the Moon


5,000,000,000
6,000,000,000
7,000,000,000
8,000,000,000
9,000,000,000
10,000,000,000
11,000,000,000
12,000,000,000
13,000,000,000

A VERY

             VERY

                         LONG

                                   TIME

                                            AGO

“BIG BANG”
13,700,000,000
(13.7 billion years ago)

Beginning of time

This was the beginning of the cosmos as we know it. Most cosmologists agree that the universe began with a ‘big bang’ from a tiny point called a singularity. After millions of years of expansion and a short period of ‘inflation’, matter began to clump together to form stars and galaxies. Planet Earth is one tiny part of one large galaxy (The Milky Way) which is just one among millions of others.