Since we humans have become totally aware of the usefulness of our environment, we’ve been able to channel all these natural resources into building the current civilization which is really awesome but it comes with its downside and considering the number of humans, we have colonized earth and every single thing on it completely.
We’ve so subdued the planet that all of the Amazon’s forest, fish, microbe and even giant animals like elephants, insects, and all other living things you can come to think of on earth no longer outweighs the sheer amount of stuff humans have made.
The year 2020 is the time which changes everything forever as researchers estimates that the total mass of man-made materials has overtaken the combined dry weight of every living thing on the planet.
According to researches, is estimated that the Earth was coated in a biosphere that weighed about 2 x 10^12 tonnes long when human first started out with agriculture and tending livestock.
Thanks in no small part to our habit of farming, mining, and building highways where forests once grew, this figure has now halved.
The small team of environmental researchers from Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel said that the mass of items constructed by humans ranging from massive buildings such as skyscrapers to insignificant things such as buttons has grown so much that this year 2020 could be the point when biomass and mass production catch up with one another.
The exact timing of this landmark event depends on how we define the exact point a chunk of rock or drop of crude oil changes from natural resource to manufactured item.
But given we’re currently rearranging roughly 30 gigatonnes of nature into anything from IKEA bookcases to luxury apartments each year (a rate that’s been doubling every 20 years since the early 1900s), such fuzziness will be arbitrary soon enough.
“Beyond biomass, as the global effect of humanity accelerates, it is becoming ever more imperative to quantitatively assess and monitor the material flows of our socioeconomic system, also known as the socio-economic metabolism,” the researchers write in their report.
Humanity had continuously being hungry for energy and raw materials to build infrastructure and trade for thousands of years and researchers have found this to be one of the factors that has further increased the number of man-made products.
Older studies have generally focused in calculating the mass of resources being used by human’s industrial complexes which is so enormous to the point its now being advocated to be dialed down in order to save the planet.
While it’s important to keep the greener parts of our environment in mind, this study shows why our insatiable hunger for sand, concrete, and asphalt shouldn’t be ignored, given the contribution infrastructure makes to our overall consumption.
“The anthropogenic mass, whose accumulation is documented in this study, does not arise out of the biomass stock but from the transformation of the orders-of-magnitude higher stock of mostly rocks and minerals,” the team notes.
Despite the immense resources and the millions of tonnes of human-made produces, not every one get a fair shar of the resources neither do we all have the same control over it.
Economic growth had being one of human’s driving motive to keep producing and making more every time and with more of us coming to the planet every day, the number of products isn’t reducing but increasing.
The prognosis of a future that’s more concrete than forest is far from novel. But with 2020 serving as a symbolic crossroads into a new epoch of human consumption, there’s no better time to act.
This article was originally published by ScienceAlert. Read the original article here.