Humankind has always been considered the supreme race despite the fact that there are even viruses, worms, fungi or types of fish that are three or 12 times greater and even 200 times as large. But it is not the size the right argument to support this statement, it’s about the immense impact we have on the natural world.
The evolution and impact of human activity
Ever since the first signs of civilization, humans have used wild mammals and plants for livestock, reaching a figure of 83%.In order to become a more civilized society, people started to carry out activities such as farming and logging, leading gradually to mass extinction of natural life. Throughout the Earth’s four billion year history, there is enough proof for scientists to argue that the various changes of our planet are leading to a new geological era, the Anthropocene. It is also stated that about half of animals may have been lost in the last 50 years, especially since there are bones of the domestic chicken across the globe.
How are scientists dealing with the current state?
Ron Milo, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, has published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which he and his team estimate the weight of every class of living creature and make various assumptions about their future. They have calculated biomass using various cutting-edge techniques, information from other studies, a satellite remote sensing for scanning great areas and gene sequencing. Every class of organisms is analyzed according to the best environment in which it could develop.
Even if they couldn’t analyze bacteria found deep underground, the work offers a great perspective on the environment. Even if bacteria represent 13% of major life form, plants are 82%, leaving 5% for insects, fish, animals and fungi. However, 0.01% is left for the 7.6 billion people. Moreover, the aquatic life is only 1% of biomass, according to the recent BBC television series Blue Planet II.
The habit of having domestic animals has increased in the past few years, namely 70% of all birds, 60% of all mammals, mostly pigs and cattle, are livestock. The continuous development of human activity has to lead to just one-sixth of wild mammals and just a fifth of marine mammals left.
In order to present an opinion of someone who’s not a member of the team, Paul Falkowski, from Rutgers University in the United States, stated that the study gives the most extensive information about the biomass distribution.
So what is the final opinion of professor Milo?
He says that people should take the environmental impact in consideration when they are making a decision regarding especially our dietary choices. For example, Ron Milo is trying to reduce meat consumption due to the shocking information he has gathered throughout the study. We often believe that there are various species around the world, but the truth is that there are more domesticated birds and animals as we think.
Humans have exploited natural resources and used wildlife for food and shelter, but we should take into account how disproportionate is in fact biomass. Even in his family, he remarks a habit of believing that animal diversity is mostly limited to what we eat rather than what is living in the wild.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.