[ The researchers estimate that, in terms of biomass, the
so-called rise of human civilization has destroyed 83 percent of wild
mammals, 80 percent of marine animals, 50 percent of plants, and 15
percent of fish.] [https://portside.org/] 

 HUMANS LESS THAN 1% OF LIFE ON EARTH, BUT HAVE DESTROYED HALF OF ITS
PLANTS, MORE THAN 80% OF ALL MAMMALS  
[https://portside.org/2018-05-22/humans-less-1-life-earth-have-destroyed-half-its-plants-more-80-all-mammals]


 

 Jessica Corbett 
 May 22, 2018
Common Dreams
[https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/22/humans-less-1-life-earth-have-destroyed-half-its-plants-more-80-all-mammals]


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 _ The researchers estimate that, in terms of biomass, the so-called
rise of human civilization has destroyed 83 percent of wild mammals,
80 percent of marine animals, 50 percent of plants, and 15 percent of
fish. _ 

 "When I do a puzzle with my daughters, there is usually an elephant
next to a giraffe next to a rhino. But if I was trying to give them a
more realistic sense of the world, it would be a cow next to a cow
next to a cow and then a chicken." , Ryan Thompson/USDA/flickr/cc 

 

While scientists and conservationists grow increasingly worried about
the world's biodiversity
[https://www.commondreams.org/tag/biodiversity], a new study that
sought to estimate the biomass of all living creatures on Earth has
shed some light on humanity's impact.

The planet is largely dominated by plants, which make up 82 percent of
all life on Earth, followed by bacteria at 13 percent, and the
remaining five percent is everything else, including 7.6 billion human
beings.

[biomass of humans v everything else]
According to the study
[http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/05/15/1711842115], published
Monday by the _Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the
United States of America_ (PNAS), people only make up 0.01 percent of
the Earth's biomass—however, their impact has been massive.

The researchers estimate that, in terms of biomass, the so-called rise
of human civilization has destroyed 83 percent of wild mammals, 80
percent of marine animals, 50 percent of plants, and 15 percent of
fish.

[rise of human civilization]
"Over the relatively short span of human history," the study notes,
"major innovations, such as the domestication of livestock, adoption
of an agricultural lifestyle, and the Industrial Revolution, have
increased the human population dramatically and have had radical
ecological effects."

Unsustainable human practices and dietary choices have led to a
scenerio wherein 36 percent of mammals are human and 60 percent are
livestock—meaning only four percent are wild.

[mammals]
"It is pretty staggering," Ron Milo, a professor at Israel's Weizmann
Institute of Science who led the study, told
[https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study?CMP=share_btn_tw]
the _Guardian_. "Our dietary choices have a vast effect on the
habitats of animals, plants, and other organisms."

"When I do a puzzle with my daughters, there is usually an elephant
next to a giraffe next to a rhino. But if I was trying to give them a
more realistic sense of the world, it would be a cow next to a cow
next to a cow and then a chicken," he added.

"I would hope people would take this [work] as part of their worldview
of how they consume," concluded Milo. "I would hope this gives people
a perspective on the very dominant role that humanity now plays on
Earth."

The study's findings provoked both amazement and concern.

"Amazing figures showing we should humbly look for a more #sustainable
human existence on this planet," remarked
[https://twitter.com/SusWorkspaces/status/998823987194015749] one
sustainability organization on Twitter.

Another environmental advocate tweeted
[https://twitter.com/GreenAwakening/status/998767853254860802] in
response: "Does enough time remain to change human behavior for a
better outcome?"

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
3.0 License 

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