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Earth seems to be groping nor for a breakthrough in human consciousness leading to a
new geo-biological era. Thomas Berry named this new era the “Ecozoic era.”

The etymology of “Ecozoic” is “eco-,” derived from the Greek word “oikos” meaning
house, household, or home, and “-zoic,” from the Greek word “zoion” meaning life.
Thus, Ecozoic era, based on this etymology, means the era of Earth as a home for life.

Berry coined the term in the late 1980s. In 1988, in his book The Dream of the Earth, he
described the new period in a chapter called “The Ecological Age.” In 1991, he gave a
lecture to the Schumacher Society entitled “The Ecozoic Era.” In the closing chapter of
The Universe Story, which Berry co-authored with Brian Swimme in 1992, he further
described the period in a chapter called “The Ecozoic Era.”

Thomas explained his use of the term in his Schumacher Lecture: 

I suggest the name “Ecozoic” as a better designation than “Ecological.” Eco-logos refers to an understanding of the interaction of things. Eco-zoic is a more biological term that can be used to indicate the integral functioning of life systems in their mutually enhancing relations. 

The Ecozoic era can be brought into being only by the integral life community itself. If other periods have been designated by such names as “Reptilian” or “Mammalian,” this Ecozoic period must be identified as the era of the Integral Life Community. For this to emerge there are special conditions required on the part of the human, for although this era cannot be an anthropocentric life period, it can come into being only under certain conditions that dominantly concern human understanding, choice, and action. 

The glossary of The Universe Story offers this definition of the Ecozoic era: “The emerging period of life following the Cenozoic, and characterized, at a basic level, by its mutually enhancing human-Earth relations. The word derives from the scientific tradition that divides the Phanerozoic eon into the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras.” 

(The text on this page is excerpted from Allysyn Kiplinger, “Naming a New Geological era: The Ecozoic Era, Its Meaning and Historical Antecedents,” The Ecozoic Journal 3 (2013): 7-28.)