Our shortcomings have always inspired us among distant ancestors, even among our ancestors. Neither the speed and power to hunt large prey to tear flesh, nor the sharp teeth and claws, we reformed spears, flint knives, scrapers. Losing a thick Pilate, we took the fur of other animals. As the snow fell, we prepared more means of survival and comfort – stone dwellings, plows, wheeled vehicles. All these inventions allowed small matters of civilization to fight the seemingly endless natural forest.
The idea of a natural world that sustained humanity and its creations for a long time, even in modern times – only to run, until recently, in the concern that the climate was changing, and species through our actions She was dying from How can this happen, with us so small and nature so big?
Now in a new study Nature A team of scientists from the Weisman Institute in Israel extended that view. Our creations have now – in fact, only this year, – attained the same mass of all living organisms on Earth. Human enterprise is growing rapidly, too, while nature keeps shrinking. The science-fiction landscape of an engineered planet is already here.
This seems a simple comparison, and yet in practice it is difficult. But this team has practice in dealing with such impossible challenges. A few years ago he worked on the first part of the equation Mass of all life on earth – Which includes all the sea fishes, germs in the soil, trees on land, birds in the air, and more. Now the weight of the Earth’s biosphere is slightly less than 1.2 trillion tons (not of dry mass, not counting water), making the most of trees on land. It was something like that before humans started clearing the forests – and it is still decreasing.
Now, the team has delayed statistics on industrial production and mass flow of all kinds, and re-organized the development of what they called “anthropogenic masses” from the early 20th century. It is all the things we make – houses, cars, roads, airplanes and other things. The pattern he found was strikingly different. The stuff we make was equivalent to 35 billion tons in the year 1900, which almost doubled by the middle of the 20th century. Then, after World War II, that explosion of prosperity was called Great acceleration, And our goods grew by leaps and bounds to half a trillion tons by the end of the century. In the last 20 years, it has doubled again, to be equal this year, the mass of all living things. In the coming years, the living world will overtake – three times by 2040, they say, if current trends.
What is this item that we make? It is now extraordinary, and explosion, diversity. number of “technospecies“Far exceeds estimated 9 million biological species On earth, and their count exceeds the formidable calculating powers of this team. But our goods can be divided into ingredients, of which concrete and aggregates take up a splendid part – about four-fifths. Then comes bricks, asphalt, and metals. On this scale, plastic is a minor component – and yet their mass is still higher than that of all animals on Earth.
It is a revealing, meticulous study, and well articulated about the measurements and what is involved. For example, rock and earth as foundations for our constructions are not involved in bulldozes and landslides, nor all of the waste rock generated in the mining of materials: currently, nearly Third of a trillion tons Such material is transferred every year. In the earth’s material that we use and misuse in other ways, in the plowing of fields, and let the sediment pile up behind dams, and humans have cumulatively used and discarded some 30 trillion tons Various earth resources
Whichever way you cut the cake, the team’s final point hits its groundbreaking study house, and chimes with it A more recent analysis We both worked. Since the mid-20th century, the Earth has been set on a new, human-driven trajectory – one that is leaving the stable conditions of the Holocaine era, and entering into uncertainty, and rapidly changing, new world Anthropocene. The weight of the evidence, here, seems unbreakable.
By this article Jan Zlasiewicz, Professor of Paobiology, University of Leicester And Mark williams, Professor of Paobiology, University of Leicester Republished from chit chat Under a Creative Commons license. read the Original article.