Artificial mass now outnumbers life on Earth

PARIS: For the first time in history, man-made materials are likely to outnumber all life on Earth, scientists said Wednesday in an investigation detailing the “crossover point” at which humanity’s footprint is farthest. heavier than the natural world.

The weight of roads, buildings and other materials constructed or manufactured doubles roughly every 20 years, and the authors of the research said it currently weighed 1.1 teratonin (1.1 trillion tons).

As humanity has increased its insatiable consumption of natural resources, the weight of living biomass (trees, plants and animals) has halved since the agricultural revolution to stand at just 1 teratone today, according to the study . By estimating changes in global biomass and artificial mass since 1900, the research showed that the mass of man-made objects accounted for only 3 percent of the weight of biomass in the early 20th century.

But since the post-WWII global production boom, manufacturing has increased to the point where humans now produce the equivalent of the weight of every person on Earth each week on average.

2020 likely marked the time when the artificial mass leaned more than biomass, according to the study published in Nature. “This study provides a kind of snapshot of the ‘big picture’ of the planet in 2020,” said co-author Ron Milo from the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.

“We hope that once we have these somewhat shocking numbers before our eyes, we can as a species take responsibility.” Based on a large amount of industrial and ecological data, the study estimated that human production represents approximately 30 gigatons per year.

At the current growth rate, man-made material is likely to weigh up to three teratonins by 2040. At the same time, overall biomass is declining, mainly due to deforestation and land-use changes that give way to agriculture. intensive.

Buildings and roads account for most of the man-made mass, and several construction trends, including the shift from brick to concrete in construction in the mid-1950s, contributed to the accelerating accumulation of weight.