How heavy is our influence on this planet as a species? As per a new study, it is now more than all other living organisms combined. For the first time, the mass of human-made objects—like buildings, roads and machines—is greater than the combined mass of all living organisms on Earth, the study has found.
Buildings and infrastructure made of concrete and aggregates currently make up the bulk of human-made mass around fourfifths followed by bricks, asphalt, and metals. Surprisingly, the mass of plastics makes up a relatively small proportion of the total anthropogenic mass, yet still far exceeds the mass of all animals on land and marine creatures combined, the study estimates. The anthropogenic mass only included embedded in inanimate solid objects made by humans and does not include waste.
The research from the Israeli scientists, however, attributes the current cross-over mainly to the exponential growth in production activities in the past century since the 1900s. In fact, the stamp made by humans on earth is doubling in mass every 20 years since the past 120 years.
Source: Elhacham, et al. Nature (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-3010-5