All Human-Made Objects On Earth Amount To 30 Trillion Tons

2016-12-06 09:26:10



The weight of Earth’s technosphere now stands at an enormous 30 trillion tonnes, according to a new study. The Earth’s technosphere includes all the structures constructed by humans to survive on the planet.

Geologists at University of Leicester in the UK, that led an international team, have come up with the first ever estimate of the sheer size of the structure of Earth’s technosphere. “The technosphere is a major new phenomenon of this planet - and one that is evolving extraordinarily rapidly,” said Professor Mark Williams from University of Leicester.

It’s not the largest of the spheres, but it’s definitely big. If we were to distribute the total mass evenly across the Earth’s surface, the technosphere would cover every square meter (11 sq-feet) of the planet in about 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of man-made stuff, the researchers say. And it’s bound to grow in size as time passes.

The technosphere is in a way the sum of our action on the planet. As such, it has a close connection to the newly-declared geological age Anthropocene — a period in which human activity has the power to shape the whole planet. But unlike the other sphere of life, the biosphere, our system does a very poor job at re-using and recycling the materials and energy used to create it. It doesn’t break down to power further growth (think of how animals digest plants into dung which then provides fertilizer for other plants,) instead it just adds to itself, taking more space as new buildings, new cars, or in landfills.

The study was published in the journal Anthropocene Review.