New Study Finds That Man-Made Materials Have Surpassed Living Things On Earth
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New Study Finds That Man-Made Materials Have Surpassed Living Things On Earth

Most scientists believe that by the end of this year, the combined weight of all man-made things will be greater than that of all living things on earth. What does this mean, and what are its implications?

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New Study Finds That Man-Made Materials Have Surpassed Living Things On Earth

Imagine the vastness of all life on Earth; the rain forests of South America, the Serengeti of Africa, the mountains of Asia. Life even expands to places we would think are unlivable, such as the Arctic or the bottom of our huge oceans. Think about how many billions of plants and animals there are on Earth. Now imagine just how much stuff we had to produce in order to surpass this amount. It's mind-boggling.

LiveScience.com published an article on December 10th, 2020 with the finding that man-made material will likely overtake living organisms on Earth this year. Humans have been trying to domesticate this planet for as long as we've been on it, but the true domination over the environment really began with the Industrial Revolution and has only gotten worse since. We currently "rearrange"--meaning take resources from nature to build highways, buildings, furniture, you name it-- 30 gigatonnes (30 billion tons) of nature a year; this rate has doubled every 20 years since the early 20th century.

Our pattern of destroying nature to make our civilizations had always been a concern in the scientific community, but our use of energy and raw materials has become entirely unsustainable as we continue to deplete our natural resources. A serious inventory needs to be made of how we consume products, how we harvest natural materials, and how we can make the products we need the least detrimental they can be. The focus of this inquiry is typically handed down to consumers themselves when it should be directed at the companies who are using and abusing resources with no care for its environmental consequences. The Carbon Majors Report found in 2017 that just 100 companies are responsible for 70% of our greenhouse emissions since 1988, which is why it seems pointless to regulate the middle-class people consuming the products made by these companies. In truth, putting responsibility in the hand of consumers is just another tactic used by major corporations to further deflect responsibility and shift the blame.

Companies responsible for this kind of pollution need to be held accountable by the people but particularly by our government, and there need to be incentives like tax cuts for reduced emissions or fees for maintaining. The politicians regulating this, however, are likely getting money from the company to uphold their privileges, so unfortunately the movement must start with us. We only get one planet and we have quickly proved what will happen when we don't care enough to change our habits. Yes, we do have a personal responsibility to shop sustainably and limit our waste, but ultimately we need to turn our focus to the corrupt corporations who have gone unchecked for too long.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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