Time For A New Calendar
From time to time throughout history, people have decided that the system they’ve used to measure the years should be upgraded. We went from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar when we realized it miscalculated the amount of time in a year. It only took about 300 years for all of Europe to get on the same page with the new Gregorian calendar, but they didn’t have instant messaging systems back then.
The Gregorian calendar has its flaws. While we seem to have nailed the amount of time in a year, the numbering system could be improved. We divide time into BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini), which is confusing at best because the numbering in the BC era goes backwards. The year 100 BC came after the year 200 BC. Also, scholars now think that Jesus of Nazareth was born in 4 BC, not 1 BC.
Would the Holocene Calendar Help?
In 1993, geologist and micro-palaeontologist Cesare Emiliani proposed a new approach. After a long career studying the timescale of climatic changes in the ocean, he turned his attention to the shortcomings of the way we divide history into BC and AD. In addition to the confusion caused by the reverse numbering of the BC era, there is no year 0. Emiliani also pointed out that the birth of Jesus is not seen as monumental in all parts of the world. He devoted his later years to developing a system that overcame these problems.
The Holocene calendar begins with Year 0 being what is now known as 10001 BC. This is science’s best guestimate of when human beings evolved and began living in settlements. It’s known as the Human Era. (Holocene means recent. Remember, Emiliani was a palaeontologist studying evolution in the period centuries before humans. Perspective is everything!) The Holocene calendar counts forward from then and adds 10,000 years to the current year. So, 2016 would be 12,016. It doesn’t affect the number of days in the year or the months or weeks. It’s a very common sense approach that would not be terribly confusing to use. Seoucebabemor . It wouldn’t cause anything like the chaos brought on by switching from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. But it hasn’t attracted much enthusiasm, even from other palaeontologists. It’s an interesting idea to chat about at a New Year’s Eve party, but you don’t need to worry about any 2017 calendars you’ve already purchased being obsolete.