April 21, 2010

Today’s Earth Day post comes from my friend and fellow science writer, Jordan Brown. Hope you enjoy it! - Seymour


    On Earth Day, as we celebrate our planet’s biodiversity, and marvel at all the remarkable ways that species are interconnected, why do many people ignore the tiniest creatures?

Be honest: When’s the last time you thanked a microbe? I’m guessing “never.” You’re not alone! Most folks are unaware of the HUGE impact that teeny-tiny creatures, such as bacteria, have on our planet.





 Brown, Jordan. MICRO MANIA. Morganville, NJ:  Imagine Publishing, 2009. Page 13 Photo: iStockphoto



Earth Day is the perfect time to learn more about at all the little life forms that share our home. While writing my new kids science book MICRO MANIA, I learned      some startling facts. I hope they dazzle you, too.

  •             All the microscopic life on Earth weighs MORE than all the visible animals put together. Sure, each individual microbe is almost weightless, but together they weigh a mind-boggling amount. A recent video based on the Census of Marine Life says that all the microbes in the world’s oceans are equal to the weight of 240-billion African elephants (including the tusks, mind you!).
  •             Your body is home to more bacteria cells than human cells.  Only about 10% of the cells in your body are human. The other 90% are bacteria that live on or inside us. And get this: Your gut is home to more bacteria than the total number of people who have EVER lived on Earth.
  •             Before bacteria appeared on Earth about 3.5 billion years ago, there was no life on our planet. According to fossils, bacteria were the only living things around for millions of years.
  •               Microbes get a bad rap, because some kinds (known as “germs”) can make us sick. But one-celled creatures such as bacteria and yeast are needed to make some of our favorite foods, including bread,  cheese, yogurt, and—most important to me— chocolate.

So,  remember the "tiniest Earthlings" as you celebrate Earth Day this week.


Jordan D. Brown









Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Earth Day 2010   •  Permalink (link to this article)   •  Share: