Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals

Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals

SOURCE: The Guardian and National Academy of Sciences DATE: May 21, 2018 SNIP: Humankind is revealed as simultaneously insignificant and utterly dominant in the grand scheme of life on Earth by a groundbreaking new assessment of all life on the planet. The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds. The transformation of the planet by human activity has led scientists to the brink of declaring a new geological era – the Anthropocene. One suggested marker for this change are the bones of the domestic chicken, now ubiquitous across the globe. The new work reveals that farmed poultry today makes up 70% of all birds on the planet, with just 30% being wild. The picture is even more stark for mammals – 60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs, 36% are human and just 4% are wild animals. [C]omparison of the new estimates with those for the time before humans became farmers and the industrial revolution began reveal the full extent of the huge decline. Just one-sixth of wild mammals, from mice to elephants, remain, surprising even the scientists. In the oceans, three centuries of whaling has left just a fifth of marine mammals in the...
Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces

Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: February 12, 2017 SNIP: For the first time, researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces. “In the equation, astronomical and geophysical forces tend to zero because of their slow nature or rarity, as do internal dynamics, for now. All these forces still exert pressure, but currently on orders of magnitude less than human impact.” According to Steffen these forces have driven a rate of change of 0.01 degrees Celsius per century. Greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans over the past 45 years, on the other hand, “have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius per century, dwarfing the natural background rate,” he said. This represented a change to the climate that was 170 times faster than natural forces. Link to original...