Research published in Nature revealed that human-made matter now outweighs the earth’s biomass. The research further shows that, on average, every person on Earth is responsible for creating matter equal to their own weight each week.
The study, carried out by a team of researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, determined the overall impact of human activities on the planet. Researchers accounted for human activities such as the production of concrete, plastic, metals and bricks. The study also determined that the production of such materials has been on the rise due to increasing urbanization.
According to the researchers, the mass of human-made products at the start of the 20th century was about 3% of the Earth’s biomass. However, due to increased urbanization and product consumption, human-produced weight now outweighs the overall global biomass. Researchers say that Earth is already at a tipping point, with the human-produced mass at 1.1 tetra-tons.
This increase in human-produced mass means negative consequences for Earth. In fact, the study shows that an increase in human-produced mass correlates with a decrease in biomass.
“Since the first agricultural revolution, humanity has roughly halved the mass of plants,” the authors wrote. “While modern agriculture utilizes an increasing land area for growing crops, the total mass of domesticated crops is vastly outweighed by the loss of plant mass resulting from deforestation, forest management, and other land-use changes. These trends in global biomass have affected the carbon cycle and human health.”
The paper now suggests that this epoch should be named Anthropocene, implying that the earth is shaped by human activities. They say that the 21st century has been squarely shaped by human activities. Production of human-made objects has transformed Earth in a few centuries. Human activities continue shaping the Earth, with an increase in human-generated mass each year.
“The face of Earth in the 21st century is affected in an unprecedented manner by the activities of humanity and the production and accumulation of human-made objects,” the researchers said.
Today, human mass is produced at a rate of about 30 gigatons per year. If this rate continues, the weight of human-created mass will exceed 3 tetra tones by 2040.
Via The Guardian
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