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Humanity Is Less Than 1% of Earth, But Has Destroyed Half of Its Plants, More Than 80% of All Mammals

Humanity Is Less Than 1% of Earth, But Has Destroyed Half of Its Plants, More Than 80% of All Mammals

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

While scientists and conservationists grow increasingly worried about the world's biodiversity, a new study that sought to estimate the biomass of all living creatures on Earth has shed some light on humanity's impact.

The planet is largely dominated by plants, which make up 82 percent of all life on Earth, followed by bacteria at 13 percent, and the remaining five percent is everything else, including 7.6 billion human beings.

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This is why we can’t have nice things.


“major innovations, such as the domestication of livestock, adoption of an agricultural lifestyle, and the Industrial Revolution, have increased the human population dramatically and have had radical ecological effects.”

Ah, but there is no problem with population growth; this is taboo to speak of, or so I am told.


Population is an issue, but the top 20% of people by income worldwide consume about 80% of all resources, and the top 10% generate about 50% of all carbon emissions, and a large number of other pollutants. The bottom 40% of the world’s population consumes less than 5% of all resources. Yeah, people are uneasy when talking about population, but very powerful interests are even more uncomfortable with talking about a wasteful, inefficient and inequitable economic system like ours. For a long time, economists denied that externalities, impacts that have no market values (like global warming, biodiversity, the species extinction rate) were a relatively small thing. Now, instead of recognizing the limits to markets, they want to expand markets to encompass everything, which is really a privatization of the commons and the biosphere. I think people in power would love to focus entirely on population, cause all of that other stuff isn’t the focus.


All rise and listen while Joan, once again, recites the Litany of Excuses.

If only people would learn to share then everything would be okay.



This was the most astonishing article I have read all week. If this does not give you pause before you decide to have children, then what exactly does constitute child abuse?


LOL! A bit of humor. Thanks.

I am so happy for you discover! For the first time, you can post about this and it actually has something to do with the thread. Congrats! No need today to inject this issue, for no logical reason, into discussions on the Democrats being corrupt. Now, if you can actually respond with anything thoughtful at all, if you can address anything outside of population, you can actually add something to the conversation. If you don’t say anything worth considering though, I won’t bother going back and forth with you. I’d rather get a root canal. I realize that you really, really like capitalism, despite it being the key driver in environmental degradation, and you don’t want to talk about anything other than population, you really hate it when people discuss the fact that the bottom 40% of the world’s population consumes one sixteenth as many resources as the top 20%, but a logical person that wants to take part in this conversation has to actually address that head on. You aren’t that person. When the right wing is forced to deal with environmental issues, not far off, they will use your exact logic, and because they don’t address the other things, their policies will be brutal.


Also Joan, your stats are outdated. You’re reciting from the Old Book of Excuses. In fact, cities all over the world, cities by the thousands, with billions of people, now consume the same resources.

Whether you are in Sao Paolo, Beijing, Moscow, London, Sydney, Paris, New York, Lagos, Oslo, Fairbanks, Mexico City, Tokyo, Casablanca, Abu Dhabi, Kinshasa, Singapore, Zhengzhou, Seoul, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Quito, Perth, or name ten other cities… name fifty… all over the world.

We are all using the same resources at this point. Don’t believe me? Go onto Google Street Maps and look for yourself.

Turns out we live on a planet. Who knew?


I am definitely in favor of an unwasteful, equitable, and efficient economic system. If they did not have more people to sell to, they could not “expand markets.”

The majority message of our society is “your job is to have a job; it is the highest moral calling a person can have.” If that means putting in an oil pipeline or manufacturing ammunition, you have a job, and therefore you are “a contributing member of society.” I did not create this system; it was imposed on me at birth. We put the unemployed in prison and sometimes kill them. Yes; I would like an equitable society and economic system. I have no union, and the Supreme Court has just removed more of my rights.


Your job is to have a job and procreate. Then go shopping. Then repeat.


LOL! Everyone, enjoy dealing with this child. He or she is going to ruin any thoughtful discussion on this important issue. Studies showing this today, yesterday and decades ago. Anyone here can Google the consumption of resources among the rich worldwide, many, many studies on this. Not debatable. If you want to have a good laugh though, ask discover to talk about his or her maps to make his or her point. It will blow your mind. Ah shit, before I could even type the response, discover mentioned maps and cities. Done.

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Joan said without providing any actual research, but insults, yes, she has those.

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Welcome to 2018. Drive around the world. Take a look at what it looks like.


Yeah, that is not true at all. Should be obvious. Consult something as simple as the IPAT formula. Let’s say that you have ten people, they each consume 10 units of some natural resource. Let’s say you fast forward ten years, there are still only ten people, but they now consume 20 units of that natural resource. Did total resource consumption go up? With stagnating population, we would have to assume it didn’t, right? If only population mattered and we didn’t think about any other factor at all. What if, ten years later, there are only five people, but those five people consume 50 units of that natural resource? Of, if we created a situation that resembled the present reality, what if there were five people, three of them consumed only five units of that natural resource (so they consume less than the first scenario), but the other two people consume 125 units of that natural resource. Did aggregate consumption go down with population? How would those two people respond to some person coming along and telling them the problem is to have less babies, and not the two people consuming 125 units of that natural resource? What if the person saying that was one of the people consuming the 125 units? So, what happens when you only deal with population and there are limits to consumption and limits in regards to the generation of pollutants? What are the societal impacts? If you care about how equitable things are, can only paying attention to population be an issue?

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Yep. Your job is to have a job and all those other nice things.

You have ten people consuming 10 units. Then they consume 20. So therefore population is not the only deciding factor, says you.

You’re talking about an abstraction. Try reality sometime.

If in five years only five people consume 50 units is another abstraction. It has nothing to do with our current reality.

Then you take it further, as if by adding more numbers it makes it more real. You say two people consume 125 units. When I show you the reality is that thousands of cities all over the world consume the same resources, you just insult me.

And your solution is simple. We need to be more equitable. LOL!

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In no way did I say that demographic overshoot was the only problem; it is a large, very large part of the problem. Wow, you want to argue that fewer people will always consume more resources? No, that doesn’t fly.

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Right and it totally ignores the problem at hand. I don’t know how to show this other than to repeat, go onto Google Street maps and pick as many cities as you like from all over the world. They are all using the same resources.

That is reality. Saying that some use more and some use less, well I am not sure what the relevance of that is. All are using too much!


Commodity City. A short, artistic, documentary about the wholesale market in China. This sums of the entire world right now. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=vimeo+commodities&src=IE11TR&pc=EUPP_HCTE&ru=%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dvimeo%2Bcommodities%26form%3DPRHPC1%26src%3DIE11TR%26pc%3DEUPP_HCTE&view=detail&mmscn=vwrc&mid=D7299122D59992C34D66D7299122D59992C34D66&FORM=WRVORC