5-speed listening (Life on Earth - Level 5)

Half of life on Earth gone since humans arrived






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Humans are only a tiny fraction of all life on Earth, but have destroyed 83% of all wild mammals and half of our plant life. This is according to a new study from Israel. The ground-breaking report is the first look into the weight of every kind of creature and life form on Earth. Researcher Professor Ron Milo explained what started the research. He said: "I was shocked to find there wasn't already a comprehensive, holistic estimate of all the different components of biomass." He hopes the study will provide a perspective on the very dominant role that humans now play on Earth.

There are 7.6 billion people on Earth, which is just 0.01% of all living things. This is the same percentage as for termites. Since we began walking on this planet, we have managed to cause the loss of most of its living species. Humans have also greatly changed the ratios of livestock to wild animals. Today, farmed birds (mostly chickens) make up 70% of all birds on Earth. Similarly, 60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock (mostly cattle and pigs), while just 4% are wild animals. Professor Milo hopes people will look more carefully at what they consume, and eat less meat.

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