Introduction: This poem is translated by the translator from Barbara Ungar's English poem "Weight" published in Scientific American.

1. Homo sapiens#

We believe that this world belongs to us
But scientists have measured
The weight of life on Earth, and the fact proves
That most of it is trees. The creatures
Roaming the seven oceans
Only account for one percent.
One-eighth is buried underground: bacteria.
The weight of underground bacteria
Is a thousand times more than ours.
Even worms are heavier than us, three to one.
The same goes for lowly viruses.
Compared to the weight of these organisms,
Humans are only 0.01% of 0.01%.
Yet we litter the ground with chicken bones.
Crying out to become your soup: less than one-third
Of birds can fly freely—the rest are poultry.
Gardens have turned into farms
And slaughterhouses—we, Homo sapiens,
One-third of mammals, have treated
Almost two-thirds as food, mostly cows
And pigs. Less than four percent of the weight
Is left for all wild animals, from elephants to shrews.
Half of the Earth's creatures
Have disappeared in the past half-century
While we have multiplied and multiplied.
Although plants have lost half, their weight still exceeds ours by 7,500 times.

2. The Other Four Percent#

I let the cat out...
I feel the cat
Curled up in her fur
Eyes shining in the darkness
Among the various wild creatures
Lurking to spend the night
From tigers to mice
They only account for a tiny proportion
Each one fighting for its own life

Author's Note: The percentages mentioned in the poem are based on biomass, not the number of organisms. Data source: "The Biomass Distribution on Earth," by Yinon M. Bar-On, Rob Phillips, and Ron Milo, in PNAS; June 19, 2018.

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