The weight of things created by man has exceeded all life forms on Earth.

While reading this story on your mobile phone, laptop, or in the newspaper that the salesperson might have left on your doorstep this morning, you may not have realized a fact that there is something completely common in all three, it is I mean, the phone, laptop, and newspaper are man-made. Except for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat, almost everything is the result of human intelligence and creativity.

Every other day, there is a new invention or a new product launch, and so on, man-made products keep piling up. Blame it on our changing needs and modern lifestyles.

Due to the increase in man-made things, many of which are not so “environment friendly”, the world is experiencing an increase in carbon footprint. And it should be noted that man-made materials are now likely to outnumber life forms on Earth!

According to scientists, humanity’s footprint is heavier than that of the natural world. According to an alarming AFP report, the weight of roads, buildings and other materials made by humans doubles every 20 years.

The study authors say that it currently weighs about 1.1 teratonins, which is equivalent to 1.1 trillion tons. The increase in population has led to an insatiable consumption of natural resources, the weight of living biomass (trees, plants and animals) has been reduced by half since the agricultural revolution to stand at just 1 teratone today, says the study.

The study also shows that the mass of man-made objects accounted for only three percent of the weight of biomass in the early 20th century. But, things saw a spike after WWII. Global production, manufacturing has increased to the extent that now humans produce the equivalent of every person on Earth, and that too, every week on average.

According to the study published in Nature, 2020 likely marked the time when the artificial mass leaned more than the biomass. “This study provides a kind of ‘big picture’ snapshot 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,” Milo told AFP.

Based on industrial and ecological data, the study estimated that human production represents approximately 30 gigatons per year. And by 2040, the artificial material is likely to weigh up to three teratonins.

At the same time, the overall biomass is declining, mainly due to deforestation and changes in land use that give way to intensive agriculture.

Buildings and roads account for most of the man-made mass, and a number of construction trends, including the shift from bricks to concrete in construction in the mid-1950s, contributed to accelerated weight accumulation, states the AFP report.