Mass Ratios and Insect Respect.

A fun re-post from my drawing blog.

How many living insects exist in the world on any given day? Scientists estimate somewhere between 1 quintillion (that’s a billion billion) and 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000). With merely 6.8 billion humans on Earth, it seems we’re outnumbered. 

If you’re like me, you’re having trouble visualizing the those numbers in terms of biomass. As luck would have it, the mathematical heavy lifting has been done, which makes the case for roughly 200 pounds of insects for each pound of human.

Put another way, suppose the “average” human weighs about 155 pounds (70 kilograms). Multiply 155 by 200 pounds of insects and you get 31,000 pounds. So for each and every one of the 6.8 billion people on Earth, there are about 31,000 pounds of insects. 

That’s the equivalent of two large African elephants.


Here’s another way to visualize it: One average guy vs. 20 cows.


Or hey! What about cats?


And then there’s my favorite, 31,000 pounds of insects is roughly the equivalent of 6,500 Chihuahuas. I’m not going to draw that. I think you get the point by now. Which is…despite all the deleterious human impacts on the environment, we’re still over our heads in insects.
But we’re also actively annoying Mother Nature, and the negative effect on insects is mounting daily.
If we continue eradicating rain forests, spraying pesticides and over-developing wild lands, we’ll eventually cause the extinction of massive numbers of insect species at the base of the food chain.
Do we really want to do that?


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