My Contribution to the Technosphere

Technosphere. Who knew there was a term for all the junk humans have made? Every week I dutifully haul the recycle bins to the curb and place them next to my trash can. I wonder how much is actually recycled and how much trash I contribute to the landfill. Do my castoffs and disposables add up to inches? Feet?

A paper published in The Anthropocene Review  this week divides “contributions” to the technosphere into categories: urban, rural, subterranean, marine and aerial. Although I am contributing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, my weekly trek to the street probably contributes more depth to the urban sphere than any of the others: cords from out of date technology, jeans with holes in the knees, the Styrofoam box with restaurant leftovers I never ate, empty Bic pens, irreparable household items…

I decided to figure out how much of the sphere I’m responsible for. According to the Review, humans have accumulated an estimated 30 trillion tons of “stuff” – enough to fit over 100 pounds worth over every square meter of the planet’s surface. I went to Worldometers to learn what the world population is currently (7,475,632,700 when I clicked on), thinking I would divide the 30 trillion tons by that figure. Trouble is, the meter is racing. I thought about all those babies being born, requiring how many disposable diapers, all growing up to fill their own recycle bins and trash cans.

It’s scary thinking about how humans of the Recent Epoch (Holocene, 11,700 YA to present) are impacting the planet with our innovative creations. The technosphere, a relatively new phenomenon in geological time is changing the planet. I fear the consequences, yet I continue to assist its evolution.  “The technosphere is a major new phenomenon of this planet – and one that is evolving extraordinarily rapidly.” -Professor Mark Williams, University of Leicester.

3 responses to “My Contribution to the Technosphere

  1. Is this: (Holocene, 11,700 YA to present), supposed to explain, “Recent Epoch” to the general public? If so, you may need to explain the explanation to us. Apparently, some of us don’t have the vocabulary and/or knowledge necessary to understand this time frame.
    I heard something recently about Sweden taking our (the USA) trash so that they could recycle it. Apparently, they don’t think we are doing a good enough job of it.
    You could take all your old stuff and make some great “Art in Public Places” art. Make a sculpture from old pens and whatnot. Not my style, but there is something for everyone – you just need to find the right market.

  2. It’s very scary, Bonnie. I hope we can soon get a handle on it. More stuff could definitely get reused, and not just in craft projects (though that is a good idea), but by industry. It seems to me that during this Recent Epoch, every time we create a big problem with our technology, someone tries to fix the problem with more technology; we always have to keep going forward, never backward (even if those were the good ole days). I hope how soon we get our biofuel fiasco straightened out.

  3. In reading the Sierra Magazine (May, June, 2015)–I tend to keep things around– I read about some good news concerning reusing stuff, “Straw Into Gold: Welcome to the New Alchemy,” byDashka Slater. 1. Sawdust into fuel. 2. Methane into Shampoo bottles, etc. 3. Crab shells into fabric.
    Concerning energy–the Sunrun Company pays to install a solar system on a person’s house and then buys the power from the homeowner; of course, there’s more to it, but I would like to know more.

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