As we get to the end of the year, It may be pertinent to remind everyone to get their 12,022 calendars before they sell out. No, that’s not a typo you just read, but is instead a much better metric of looking at our history that is long overdue for adoption: the Holocene Era calendar. In the age of inclusivity and global awareness, it behooves us as a society to organize our history in a way that reflects that. If humans are hundreds of thousands of years old, why do we choose to define all of history as happening as before Christ or anno Domini (in the year of the Lord)?

The simple answer is that Christianity is by far the most populous religion and, at least in the West, has arguably been the most influential. The more complex answer involves the time period it was created in. When the Scythian monk Dionysius Exiguus created the anno Domini system in A.D. 525, he did it for a very narrow purpose: to erase the legacy and timekeeping system of the Roman emperor Diocletian, who was notorious for persecuting Christians. Before the A.D. and B.C. system, years were measured in terms of the emperor’s reigns instead of being based on religion. The problem with this system, and the Dionysian system that came after it, is that it is extremely narrow in its focus. The Dionysian system is a way of marking time from one cultural perspective. This is problematic when using that system as the primary timekeeping method in a world with a multitude of diverse cultures.

Delineating a before and after line implies a separation of what events matter and don’t matter in world history. Before the invention of B.C.E., the term “Vulgar Era” —”vulgar” meaning “ordinary” at the time — was used to refer to events that happened before the birth of Jesus. By setting aside tens of thousands of years of history as the “Vulgar Era,” we undermine the importance of the events that happened before Christianity. Would we call the Romans, Greeks and Babylonians less important than the Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution? In my view, history is composed of a plane of equally important events and peoples which build into and upon each other. As we reexamine the ways in which cultural history has been distorted or left out by those in power, it’s important to recognize the same qualities in our date-keeping system. The Dionysian calendar has put the history of non-Western cultures on a different, less important scale. Leveling our cultural-historical record should start with the calendars we use to tell it.

A solution for this problem was proposed in 1993. Allow me to explain the Holocene Era calendar. The Holocene calendar, otherwise known as the Human Era (H.E.), was the creation of Italian scientist Cesare Emiliani. Instead of marking time as happening before or after the birth of Christ, Emiliani’s calendar is based upon a shared event in human history: the first indicator of human civilization. Approximately 12,000 years ago, the first major human-made structure was completed in modern-day southeastern Turkey. The completion of the Göbekli Tepe temple marks year zero of the Holocene calendar. The project united ancient hunter-gatherers in the Fertile Crescent and signifies the beginning of when humans were able to truly build their own world.

By pushing our starting point back, we gain a richer perspective of our history. According to the Holocene calendar, the first cities emerged in 1,000 H.E., about 4,000 years before the Bronze Age occurred in 5,000 H.E. It was around that time, 7,000 years ago, that the wheel and early writing systems were invented. The river valley civilizations occurred two millennia later around 7,000 H.E. — the length of our current A.D. era — and it would take another two millennia for classical Western civilization to begin with the Greeks around 9,500 H.E. The Roman Empire became the dominant power by 9,800 H.E, only two centuries before the birth of Jesus.

With this new calendar, we also get a far more encompassing view of the length of our progress. While it took 1,000 years between the construction of the Göbekli Tepe temple and the city of Jericho, it took less than a century for humans to go from traveling in horse carriages to rocket ships. We live in an era of unprecedented advancement, and it would be a pity to not have that reflected in our calendars.

Since much of human history is measured in positives under the Holocene calendar, it’s much easier to see events as they flow in real life: a continuous progression. Since I am Jewish, most of my religious history ends before our current year one. Under our current calendar, most of the major events are measured in negatives instead of positives, making it feel much farther removed from me than they really are. Under the Holocene Era calendar, it’s easy to see the progression from the start of Judaism in 8,000 H.E. to the Kingdom of Judea around 9,000 H.E., all of which only occurred between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago. For many cultures whose histories start before A.D. 1, the Holocene calendar would help do the same.

At this point, you may be thinking this is all well and good, but how could we possibly alter our time-keeping method in such a drastic way? The beauty of the Holocene calendar is that it just involves adding an extra one at the start of our official calendar years. Our system of months and days can stay the same. Moreover, our current calendar can still be compatible with the new system but just in a subsidiary role. I think an extra one is a measly sacrifice for giving 80 percent of human history the respect it truly deserves.

Peter Levy is an undeclared freshman.