May 28, 2018 - GruntVeganfeature
A new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first of its kind to assess all life on our planet, shows that humans are simultaneously insignificant and absolutely dominant in the grand scheme of life on Earth.
Despite the fact that as of the study's release date (May 21, 2018), Earth's 7.6 billion humans equated to just 0.01 percent of all the world’s inhabitants, the species maintains a significant impact on other life forms.
Plants, it seems, overshadow everything, representing 82% of all living matter. All other creatures, from insects to fungi, to fish and animals, make up just 5% of the world’s biomass.
This transformation of planet earth by carnist human activity has some scientists calling this a new geological era, the Anthropocene. The proposed epoch for this new ear, dates from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth's geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.
Concurrent with this devastation of wild living creatures, is the massive expanding population of animals and birds being raised for food. 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.
“I was shocked to find there wasn’t already a comprehensive, holistic estimate of all the different components of biomass,” said Prof Ron Milo, at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who led the work.
“I would hope this gives people a perspective on the very dominant role that humanity now plays on Earth,” he said, adding that he now chooses to eat less meat due to the huge environmental impact of livestock.
In just the past 50 years alone, the Earth lost half of its wildlife to industrialization, according to another report, by the World Wildlife Fund. But they go on to outline in "Food in a Warming World" how a vegan diet can significantly lower our carbon footprint.
Overall, apart from being cruel and speciesist, raising animals for food is an unsustainable method of feeding the world's growing population of humans. A report released earlier this month by "Our World in Data", outlines how the food industry could feed people by cultivating much more efficiently with plant crops rather than raising livestock.