The earth became twice as heavy: for the first time everything that a man produced exceeded the weight of all creation

The earth became twice as heavy: for the first time everything that a man produced exceeded the weight of all creation
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10 December 2020, 13:54
Science
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A historic moment has come in the development of life on Earth. In 2020, everything that humanity produced on the planet exceeded the total biomass of the Earth in terms of its weight. Researchers say the data is shocking.

A study was published in the journal "Nature" according to which everything that man has created will exceed the weight of all life on Earth. The mass of human-made objects has doubled every 20 years over the past century. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was only 3% of the biomass. Scientists say these data show the influence of humans on Earth. We are talking about plastics, buildings, streets and cars.

Biomass refers to all living things, including fungi and bacteria, said Ron Milo of Israel's Weizmann Institute. The group under his leadership estimated global changes in biomass dry weight and the weight of everything produced by humans since 1900.

The result was shocking - while the biomass is decreasing every year, the anthropogenic mass is rapidly increasing. Humanity produces 30 gigatons of artificial objects annually. This means that every week an artificial mass equal to the weight of one person appears on Earth.

If the trend continues, in 2040 the anthropogenic mass will be from two to three terratons. These data indicate that we are already in the Anthropocene, the "century of man", although geologists do not agree with this yet.

Simultaneously with the growth of artificial mass on Earth, the plant mass after the first agricultural revolution was halved and now amounts to one terraton. The reason for this development was the agricultural use of land and deforestation. Plants account for 90% of all terrestrial biomass, followed by fungi and bacteria. Humanity occupies only 0.01%.

Scientists state that the growing production of various objects on Earth has led to a change in the ratio between artificial and biological mass. “We are now at a crossroads. In 2020, artificial objects on Earth will exceed the weight of all living things".

The researchers note that it is quite difficult to determine the exact moment when these two masses will equalize, so their forecast has a delta of 6 years.

In 2016, another study concluded that man-made objects - from a fountain pen to a nuclear power plant - outnumber life on earth. A group of scientists led by Jan Zalasevich from the University of Leicester estimated the diversity of the technosphere at about a billion objects. This is more than all types of living organisms on the planet.

"Our research shows that the footprint that humanity leaves on Earth significantly exceeds our place in the total biological mass", - says Israeli scientist Milo. "We hope our species should take charge of the planet, given this shocking data".

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