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Human-made objects now weigh more than all living things!3 min read

December 16, 2020 2 min read

Human-made objects now weigh more than all living things!3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Everyone loves to read positive news. But sometimes, there are important things that need our attention so that we can wake up and change the way the world operates, for the good. This is one such situation.

A study published on December 9 this year states that human-made objects now weigh more than the combined weight of all living things on earth. Yup, we did it. Scientists found that the weight of human-made objects like cement, asphalt and steel have increased rapidly since 1900, when they only made up 3% of the land biomass.

Why hasn’t land biomass increased too?

Good question. Humans have been steadily decreasing the overall mass of other living organisms for many years, hence it hasn’t increased at the same speed as the former. In fact, the study says that 90% of the earth’s biomass actually comes from plants. And we all know that humans have been destroying forests and cutting down wood for generations.

Plants account for 90% of the Earth’s living biomass

Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science

But why do we cut down so much wood?

Well, think about it. We use wood and plants in so many ways in our everyday lives! Whether it is the houses we live in, the paper we write on, the food we eat, or the products we use on ourselves, everything comes from these amazing living things! And although trees do so much for us, what do we do in return?

Owliver’s Obscure Observation: Did you know that we need wood to make ice cream? That’s weird, right? Well, Soft ice cream is made from something called cellulose, the chief constituent of the cell walls of plants and wood! We use it in ice creams as a thickener and a stabilizer. This wood product helps the ice cream to keep its shape.

We have been steadily reducing their numbers for our personal use, to create more land for the populous regions, raise livestock, and develop our economy. The study says that before the agricultural revolution began 12,000 years ago, plants on earth weighed 2 terratonnes (that’s 2,000,000,000,000 metric tonnes!). And now, we have reduced that by half.

Watch this video to see why we should care about deforestation:

So, what does all this mean?

Essentially, the biomass of all human-made things now weighs 1.1 terratonnes, effectively surpassing the weight of the earth’s biomass. If this trend continues, scientists predict that the weight of human-produced things will exceed 3 terratonnes by 2040.

Now, that might sound like a simple thing. But for millennia, the earth’s entire mass has never been this high. The question to ask at this point if not why this is important, but how this will affect us and the earth combined. Is the earth really ready to bear the brunt of our greed?

It’s quiz time!

Enough with the serious talk! Let’s get the ball rolling. Take our quiz for a quick recap of everything we’ve learned about the earth.

Sources: Time Magazine, Science Focus