A census of the biomass (the amount of living matter) on Earth—published recently by the research group of Prof. Milo, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel1—revealed humankind as miniscule but insanely dominant in the grand scheme of life on Earth. This research found that the world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things.
However, over the relatively short span of human history, human has caused the loss of 83% of wild mammals and 50% of plants. Human, who claims to be the most superior form of life given the ability to think and plan, has been tampering with fragile earth by abusing its resources.
According to the website ‘the world counts’, the environmental footprint of human has increased so high that number of planet like earth needed to provide resources and absorbs waste is 1.7, and 4.6 in case if everyone lived like an average American2. This illustrates the fact that human has crossed the threshold bearing capacity of earth in spite of a large world population living life under the shade of global technological advancements.
Homo sapiens used for human species is coined using the Latin word meaning “wise man”, however, the way human has progressed reflects anything but virtues of the name. Climate change has started to influence with season cycle globally. Traces of plastics have permeated to food and water. In fact, plastic in the sea has caused extinction of a number of species. Air quality index of cities like Patna where there is hardly any big industry is poor. Polar ice-caps are melting and resulting in the rise of sea-level.
List of human-made disaster is endless, but could you believe that only 0.01% population of all living things, human, can be so deadly.
Human is capable of thinking and has faced past challenges to evolve as well as survive. However, it is a sad reality that at present there is non-acknowledgment of challenges posed to humanity not only in under-developed nations but also in developed nations, all because of lack of vision and temporary greed.
With little or no awareness of danger in public, life of human race is being propelled to extinction. Since people directly or indirectly choose government, there is hardly any interest form policy maker to take urgent and radical steps as nobody wants to hurt and lose power. World needs visionary scientific leaders who can create and build a movement to make people aware of the reality. Even though it is already late, and appropriate title of this article should have been “Human is trapped in its own web”, an attempt should be made. Who knows mother earth may show mercy, and human survive. Is the quote of Gandhi “the world has enough for everyone's needs, but not everyone's greed” more relevant than before?
1Bar-On YM, Phillips R, Milo R (2018). The biomass distribution on Earth. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 10.1073/pnas.1711842115
Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland
Dr. Siddharth Suman is a freelancer writing especially on societal issues, science, and education in both Hindi and English for various online media houses. In addition, he loves to write poetry and short story for the expression of personal emotions and thoughts. His poetry book titled 'Evaporating Soul — between love and life' may be read at Kindle.