All of the Amazon’s splendid greenery. Every fish in the Pacific. Every microbe underfoot. Every elephant on the plains, every flower, fungus, and fruit-fly in the fields, no longer outweighs the sheer amount of stuff humans have made.
Estimates on the total mass of human-made material suggest 2020 is the year we overtake the combined dry weight of every living thing on Earth.
Go back to a time before humans first took to ploughing fields and tending livestock, and you’d find our planet was coated in a biosphere that weighed around 2 x 10^12 tonnes.
Thanks in no small part to our habit of farming, mining, and building highways where forests once grew, this figure has now halved.
According to a small team of environmental researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, the mass of items constructed by humans – everything from skyscrapers to buttons – has grown so much, this year could be the point when biomass and mass production match up. [Continue reading…]