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Modern views of the Earth's climate, oceans and atmosphere, and appreciation of human impacts on these systems, are relatively new. Less than a decade before I started my professional career, a small nucleus of pioneering scientists, including many previous recipients of the Revelle Medal, began to discern unexpected changes in atmospheric composition and to assess the implications for the global environment. They initially did not imagine that global environmental changes would be observed in their lifetimes: The Earth system was thought to be too massive compared with human endeavors.