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Anthropocene: Human-Made Materials Now Weigh as Much as All Living Biomass, Say Scientists

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/09/anthropocene-human-made-materials-now-weigh-much-all-living-biomass-say-scientists


Wow – it’s getting way too heavy, dude!

Greenland and West Antarctica seem to be vying for ice-drama queen every year. With Greenland, her ice mass balance is at issue: Is she gaining or losing weight lately? Way down south, you got your monster WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) drained by the Thwaites and the PIG (Pine Island Glacier). All making for more sea-level rise (SLR), much sooner than expected.

That much goes without saying. We’ve come to expect pretty much everything sooner than expected – though the precise ratio is difficult to nail down. Almost immediately, we’ll start to see huge concrete manifestations of our final death-throes, as a species: furious construction of utterly futile seawalls will represent humankind’s last mistake.

Concrete is not carbon-neutral, you see. To the contrary: concrete has always represented a huge portion of our global carbon footprint. Humankind’s impending King Canute folly, pouring tons and tons of mud to stop the tide, will release tons and tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, accelerating the forces which will inundate the seawall. Much sooner than expected, we’d naturally expect.


At a certain point in time, human-made materials will weigh much more than living and non-living biomass combined. There will be a lot more natural and unnatural disasters in the world. Scientists are trying to find out if we can live in other planets or moons in other universes. There might be people there that wrecked their worlds like we wrecked ours that are trying to find out if there is life outside of their solar systems.

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Jan Zalasiewicz is a field geologist, and actually chaired the working group on the Anthropocene, i.e., attempting to fix a date for the beginning of a new geological time period.

I have his Oxford Very Short Introduction “Rocks” (2016), which is superb - a favorite of mine.

In short - one hell of a geologist.

A more complete look may be had in this Guardian interview:


To wit - we are still focused on pieces of the problem - like climate change, for example.

A much more substantial evaluation of our place in time is called for - one that is as comprehensive as it is based on solid science, and that is the promise of this still ‘in the works’ Anthropocene.

In this article is presented yet another piece of this problem.

But our systems of governance are also pieces of the problem - and we are still wondering if American democracy can survive in the Anthropocene - or if it might actually take on new and improved methods and institutions to address this threat to our survival.

So I salute Jan for his efforts - and I am looking forward to the official adoption of the Anthropocene asap.

Situational awareness is something we all need to become more proficient at. The key word is ‘need’.

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Anther planet of an “advanced alien civilization” was pursued by anime character “Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius.” Said alien invaders kidnap parental units in the story. Jim Neutron devises extra-cosmos traveling space vehicles with carnival ride capsules. Metaphor. Neutron and friends arrive at alien home planet to find a cruel race of “egg-shaped” pod-dwelling misanthropist high technofix “driverless” car and truck pod nonsense. Sleeper “Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius” a gag seasonal show fun.

Light speed solar traveling device - anti-gravity.
Neither fission, fusion nor radioactive.
Electro-chemical hydrogen atomic.
Anti-gravity Jules Vernes.
Inter-solar travel device
1/60th the speed of light.
Globular, polar, equatorial, core, device
for solar travel in weeks and days.
(oh yeah sure whatever like okay whewew.)