The footprint of humanity on the Earth is unfortunately a massive one. So big that experts now agree that humanity’s impact on the planet is so profound that it is time to declare a new geologic epoch – the Anthropocene. Examples of this impact are the radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear testing, plastic pollution and the soot produced by fossil-fuel power stations. These and other adverse effects are illustrated in exquisite detail on Anthropocene, the 2018 edition of our ever-popular Silver Niobium coins.
Beginning at the end of the Ice Age, some 11,700 years ago, the subdivision of the Quaternary geologic period, during which all human civilisation developed, is known as the Holocene. The partly scientific, partly philosophical concept of the Anthropocene is effectively a continuation of the Holocene under a symbolic new name. Different shades of green are used in the coin’s niobium core to illustrate this concept. Humanity and its huge footprint on the planet dominate either side of the coin’s two-tone green niobium core, while humanity’s adverse effects on planet Earth are shown in the silver outer ring of Anthropocene