writes, another crisis is around the corner -- global hoarding:
Human-engineered structures and gadgets from cities to cellphones now represent an enormous mass weight of nearly 30 trillion tonnes on the planet, or vastly more than the world’s forests or life in the oceans.
Scientists call this artificial system created by humans over the centuries “the technosphere,” and they say it is growing and evolving at a rapid rate.
Furthermore, the variety of obsolete and working technological gadgets that litter landfills and cities now outnumber the planet’s biotic species and probably “far exceeds recognized fossil diversity, and may exceed total biological diversity through Earth’s history,” say scientists in a new journal paper published in the Anthropocene Review.
In contrast to the mass of 30 trillion tonnes created by humans to support technological societies, the total live biomass (animals and plants) on Earth equals about 560 billion tonnes of carbon.
So while we try to limit CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, we increase them in the technosphere.
Professors Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams and Colin Waters from the University of Leicester Department of Geology, along with a team of global contributors, also concluded that the planet’s technosphere is now so extensive that it could cover every square metre of the Earth’s surface with several inches of human detritus weighing an average of 50 kilos, or 110 pounds.
This human-engineered skin would include aluminum, concrete, plastic, fly ash and fallout from nuclear testing across the planet.
The technosphere is composed “of the structures that humans have constructed to keep them alive, in very large numbers now, on the planet: houses, factories, farms, mines, roads, airports and shipping ports, computer systems, together with its discarded waste,” Zalasiewicz said.
It also includes cities, satellites in space, mine waste, plastics, pipelines, subways (human pipelines) irrigation works, fish farms, as well as plantation forests.
Incredibly, technological flotsam ranging from ballpoint pens to transistors now outnumbers the fossils of creatures that once roamed the earth.
We human creatures have always created a lot of garbage -- on earth and in space. We may, indeed, eventually drown in our own waste.
Image: Our World