For decades environmentalists and consumers have worried about the ever-pervasive hole in the ozone layer. Discovered in the late 1970s, the hole was eventually attributed to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), caused by man-made chemicals like refrigerants and aerosol sprays. If the hole was left unchecked, experts predicted it would contribute to the gradual destruction of the planet in the form of global warming.

But today that hole is shrinking, attributable, in part, to regulations that were enacted in the late 1980s to reduce CFCs in the environment. During the 2016 winter in Antarctica, the depletion of the protective ozone layer was observed to be approximately 20 percent lower than it was a full decade ago.

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Much has been said about the environmental impact mankind is making, with some believing it is speeding up the demise of our planet. Geologists believe the impact humans are making has led to a new geological epoch, which means the end of the Holocene epoch that has been in progress since the Ice Age. The Holocene epoch is considered to have begun 11,700 years ago.

Scientists have named the current epoch “Anthropocene,” which is derived from a Greek word meaning “man.” Scientists say the begin date for the current epoch could be set around the middle of the 20th century, when human activity first began making a noticeable impact on the world as we know it. The atomic age that began around the mid-1940s, combined with increases in mining, industry, farming, and use of materials like concrete and plastics began to leave an imprint on the geology of the planet, the experts say.

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