How Has the Earth Changed During Your Lifetime?

Have you ever wondered how the Earth has changed in your lifetime? I know I have — but even though it would be close to impossible to come up with an exhaustive list of everything that’s happened on this planet since each of us was born, the BBC does have a neat-o way to give us a glimpse at the bigger picture. Called “Your Life on Earth,” it allows us to peek at not only how we’ve changed since our arrival on Earth, but also how the Earth itself has changed — both on its own and with the help or hindrance of humans.

BBC Earth has collected a huge amount of data from a wide variety of sources, including the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, and UNdata, and used it to create one of the coolest interactives I’ve ever seen. “Your Life on Earth” first asks you to input some basic information about yourself (namely, your birthdate); then it cross-references it with all that data to generate a personalized infographic about — surprise! — your life on Earth.

Because I am pretty much always willing to use myself as a guinea pig, I plugged in my data so you all could see what the results look like. It walks you through how you yourself have changed during the years you’ve been alive, moves on to look at how the Earth has changed, and finishes up with how we ourselves have changed the Earth during that time. It’s worth noting, by the way, that what you see here is just one of a number of possible results; each section has a “refresh” button in the upper right hand corner, allowing you to see a whole bunch of new facts at the click of your mouse. Prepare to lose a few minutes to this thing, because it’s awesome. Ready? Here we go!

Here’s Me:

I’m 29, I identify as female, I’m short, and I don’t use the metric system, even though I feel like I probably should.

Here’s How I’ve Changed:

In space time, I’m an old lady.

Here's How the World Has Changed:

There have been 65 solar eclipses so far during my time on Earth? Wowzers. Also, the population growth chart in the lower right hand corner keeps on ticking; the number displayed here reflects the population increase at roughly 10:05 a.m. today.

And Here's How We've Changed the World:

Fun fact: I had to go to the emergency room at Celebration Hospital on my birthday once because somehow I managed to contract pleurisy while I was at Disney World. According to the town’s birthdate seen here, that would have been right around the time it was first formed.

Here’s where it starts getting a little scary, though: I’ll probably still be alive when we run out of both oil and coal. If that’s not a wakeup call for us to start getting serious about finding alternate fuel sources, I don’t know what is.

The final section of the interactive includes a video of something the BBC covered while you’ve been alive; mine was of an anaconda giving birth underwater, narrated by the dulcet tones of Richard Attenborough. It apparently happened when I was 23. A fitting theme, no?

Check out the whole thing over at BBC Earth — it’s at once fascinating, awe-inspiring, and sobering. TIL, right?

Images: BBC Earth (5)