Human ‘stuff’ will soon weigh more than all living things on Earth

Objects made by humans on planet Earth will weigh more than all living things by the end of this year, say experts.

A team at the Weizmann Insitute of Science in Israel has estimated the combined weight of everything humans have manufactured from 1900 to the present day. Unsurprisingly, they found that we have dramatically changed the face of the planet over the last 120 years.

Human-made objects added up to just 3 per cent of the Earth’s biomass at the beginning of the 20th century.

But now, at the end of 2020, we are at a tipping point where human ‘stuff’ will soon weigh more than the 1.1 teratonnes (1,100,000,000,000 tonnes) of life on earth. The waste we produce was not factored in, but the study estimates that if it had been, the balance may have tipped back in 2013.

“The study provides a sort of ‘big picture’ snapshot of the planet in 2020,” says Professor Ron Milo, one of the study’s authors.

“This overview can provide a crucial understanding of our major role in shaping the face of the Earth in the current age of the Anthropocene.”

The study found that the mass of objects made by us has doubled every 20 years since the beginning of the last century. The amount of new material added every week is estimated to weigh more than the planet’s entire population.