Anthropocene = Anthropo (man) + cene (new geological age)
As written in IGBP Newsletter 41, May 2000 by Paul J. Crutzen and Eugene F. Stoermer, they explained with the importance of marking a new age in geological scale:
"Considering these and many other major and still growing impacts of human activities on earth and atmosphere, and at all, including global, scales, it seems to us more than appropriate to emphasize the central role of mankind in geology and ecology by proposing to use the term 'anthropocene' for the current geological epoch. The impacts of current human activities will continue over long periods."
Theoretically, I believe there are two major historical events that marked a significant cause to the anthropocene age:
1. The result of vast expansion of human populations which increased tenfold since approximately 2-300 years ago.
2. The Industrial Revolution in the 18th and early 19th centuries started in the Britain and then spread throughout Europe, North America, and eventually the world.
Human activities by the wide spread of world population with advancing technologies after the Industrial Revolution created increasing forces that affect the Earth on a planetary scale, which recognized by George Perkins Marsh in 1864 in his book titled 'Man and Nature', more recently reprinted as 'The Earth as Modified by Human Action".
"It is still too early to attempt scientific method in discussing this problem, nor is our present store of the necessary facts by any means complete enough to warrant me in promising any approach to fulness of statement respecting them. Systematic observation in relation to this subject has hardly yet begun, and the scattered data which have chanced to be recorded have never been collected. It has now no place in the general scheme of physical science, and is matter of suggestion and speculation only, not of established and positive conclusion. At present, then, all that I can hope is to excite an interest in a topic of much economical importance, by pointing out the directions and illustrating the modes in which human action has been, or may be, most injurious or most beneficial in its influence upon the physical conditions of the earth we inhabit."
However, the impact on Earth caused by human activities was not as significant and noticeable until recent decades, when "unnatural" catastrophes happened and threatened human lives, in many ways i.e. disasters caused by global warming, new diseases that wiped out human populations like dropping nuclear bomb, unexpected change of climate and living environment in both micro and macro scale. Frightening news and scary forecast of future earth finally caught human attention on the circumstances everyone of us responsible for in making the today and tomorrow's Earth.
Even though it is already a proven fact but it is still hard to swallow that we are now making a new Earth by just living our modern lifestyle. It is shocking that every bit of our activity ties back to the invention of steam engine in the Industrial Revolution and every bit of our action might devote to destructing the future Earth. By accepting that we are living in the age of Anthropocene, all 6.5 billion of human (and counting) are no longer just the most dominant species on the planet Earth but now, the architects for this planet.