We collect resources. It is an instinctive behavior: ants save for the winter too. But maybe we exaggerated a bit. This can be seen in the weight relationship between created objects and humanity. Currently, objects on the planet weigh more than living things.
There is such a thing as Diogenes Syndrome. It is a disorder that is characterized by the accumulation of various objects. Even trash and trash in the house itself. We could reproduce this pathology on a planetary level.
This is evidenced by a new study entitled The global man-made mass exceeds all living biomass. He says the face of the earth will be affected in unprecedented ways in the 21st century. The production and accumulation of objects created by man crosses all boundaries.
Streets, buildings, ships, cars, clothes … the infrastructure of everyday life now weighs around 1.1 trillion tons. It is the combined dry weight of all plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, archaea, and protists on the planet. The creation of this artificial mass has accelerated rapidly over the past 120 years. Artificial objects have increased from just 3% of the world’s biomass in 1900 to their current levels. The average body weight of the 7.7 billion people on the planet is produced every week. The world’s plastics alone weigh twice as much as land and marine animals.
We are responsible
“We cannot believe that we are just a small species among many,” says study co-author Ron Milo. These numbers should be a wake up call. They tell us about the responsibility we have, ”he adds.
After the Second World War, the “Great Acceleration” began. It was characterized by increased consumption and urban development. “With this trend, anthropogenic mass will exceed 3 teratons by 2040. Almost three times the dry biomass on earth,” continues Milo. More than 50% of this corresponds to concrete, gravel and other building materials. Bricks, asphalt, metals, plastic and other materials make up about 19% of the total.
Objects on the planet weigh more than all living things. “And all this new mass sooner or later becomes a waste that needs to be treated.” Fridolin Krausmann from the University of Vienna, peer reviewer of the work. “We will get as much waste in the next 20 years as we have in the last 110 years combined,” he continues. “Most of what we have now has been built since the 1960s. Now all of this is nearing the end of its useful life.”
It’s not that you have to go zen. Just think about it the next time you go shopping, when you really need all of this.