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Man-made mass outweighs all living biomass on Earth

Date: 11 December 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous


For the first time in history manmade materials now likely outweigh all life on Earth, according to a study by researchers.



  • The weight of roads, buildings, and other constructed or manufactured materials is doubling roughly every 20 years.

  • As mankind has ramped up its insatiable consumption of natural resources, the weight of living biomass like trees, plants, and animals has halved since the agricultural revolution.

  • The research showed that the mass of human-produced objects stood at just three percent of the weight of biomass at the start of the 20th century.

  • But since the post-World War II global production boom, manufacturing has surged to the extent that humans now produce the equivalent of the weight of every person on Earth every week on average.

  • Drawing from industrial and ecological data, the study estimated human production accounts for roughly 30 gigatonnes annually.

  • At the current growth rate, manmade material is likely to weigh as much as three teratonnes by 2040.

  • Buildings and roads account for most of the manmade mass, and a number of construction trends—including shifting from bricks to concrete in construction in the mid-1950s contributed to the accelerated weight accumulation.

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