human-made mass now exceeds all living biomass on earth

human-made mass now exceeds all living biomass on earth

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a new study published by nature magazine states that for the first time in history, man-made materials outweigh all life on planet earth. referred to as anthropogenic mass, human-made mass doubles roughly every 20 years, and seems like 2020 is the year of the crossover point — this mass has surpassed all global living biomass, currently weighting 1.1 teratonnes (1.1 trillion tonnes).

 

‘on average, for each person on the globe, anthropogenic mass equal to more than his or her bodyweight is produced every week,’ the research abstract states. ‘this quantification of the human enterprise gives a mass-based quantitative and symbolic characterization of the human-induced epoch of the anthropocene.’

 

the research, which has been estimating biomass and anthropogenic mass since 1990, states that at the beginning of the 20th century, man-made objects represented just 3%. following the global production boom which surged after World War II, we produce the equivalent of the weight of every person standing on earth right now. 

 

‘this study provides a sort of ‘big picture’ snapshot of the planet in 2020,’ said co-author ron milo of the plant and environmental sciences department at israel’s weizmann institute of science. ‘we hope that once we have these somewhat shocking figures before our eyes, we can as a species take responsibility.’

 

if we continue this way, by 2040 human-produced mass will weigh as much as 3 teratonnes. 

 

(image by by james johnny on unsplash)

juliana neira I designboom

dec 10, 2020


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