As the natural world continues to shrink, the ‘anthropological mass’ of all man-made objects, including houses, cars, roads and airplanes, has grown since the Industrial Revolution. In fact, the number of so-called technologies exceeds the estimated 9 million biological species on the planet New exciting review Published in the magazine on December 10th Natural (1).
A team of scientists from the Weissman Institute in Israel carried out a rigorous and detailed analysis of the balance between man and nature. More specifically, they explored global biological and man-made mass changes from 1900 to the present, and found that the mass of man-made objects has now reached the same mass of all living things on Earth.
Earth’s biosphere now weighs less than 1.2 trillion tons (including water) of all living things on Earth.
Buildings and infrastructure made up of concrete and aggregates currently make up the bulk
Man-made mass – one-fourth to one-fifth – followed by bricks, asphalt and metals. Surprisingly, the plastic mass makes up a relatively small proportion of the total anthropomorphic mass, yet is larger than the mass of all animals of land and sea creatures, the study estimates. The anthropological mass is embedded only in man-made inanimate solid materials and does not contain waste.
The shift to a world dominated by man-made products is mainly driven by increased consumption and urban development. Every week, every person in the world builds on average more than their body weight in man-made matter. Researchers say that humanity’s footprint is doubling every 20 years.
Supports new innovations Recent calls to recognize the new era of anthropology Responsible for the profound impacts of human activity on Earth. The authors write: “The implications of these actions are so sudden and significant that it has been proposed that the current geographical era should be renamed anthropology. Our study strongly confirms this plan. ”
At the beginning of the 20th century, the mass of man-made matter was about 3 percent of the world’s total biomass, but by 2020, it would have reached 1.1 teratons more than the total global biomass. Moreover, this dramatic increase in human constructions is accompanied by significant losses in biology. The authors say that since the first agrarian revolution, mankind has halved the number of plants.
“While modern agriculture uses land for growing crops, deforestation, deforestation and other land use changes are largely due to plant mass loss,” they write, “and these trends around the world are affecting the bio-carbon cycle and human health.”
By drawing a clearer picture of the balance between humans and nature, researchers hope to draw attention to the fact that the natural world is not as infinite as many believe. If human production continues at this rate, our impact weight will exceed 3 teratons by 2040, which will almost triple the mass of the organism.
(1) Elhasam, e. And others. The universal man-made mass is greater than all living things. Natural (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-020-3010-5
Photo: Sao Paulo, Brazil (Getty Images)