Human Impacts by the Numbers


The greatest experiment of the last 10,000 years is the presence and action of modern human beings on planet Earth. At this point, the consequences of this experiment are being felt on many fronts. Yet, many people still hold the view that because the world is so “huge”, humans cannot really make a substantial impact. The mission of this database is to provide a resource for anyone to rapidly find — and discover — numbers that quantify the impact humans have on the planet. Associated with this database is a graphical "SnapShot" and a preprint on the arXiv which serves as a reference for what we believe are the most important quantities to know when considering the influence humans have on the planet.

About Us


This project began with Rob Phillips and Ron Milo who both run academic research groups dedicated to quantitative dissections of biological and physical phenomena and have seen how incredibly useful having easy access to quantitative data can be on the path to discovery. Aside from a variety of scientific publications, Rob and Ron co-authored Cell Biology by the Numbers which explores phenomena in cell biology through a quantitative lens. Additionally, they have built and curated the BioNumbers Database which, in the spirit of the Human Impacts Database, is meant to serve as a quantitative reference in molecular and cellular biology. This database was developed and mainatined by Griffin Chure, Rachel A. Banks, Avi Flamholz, Nicholas S. Sarai, Mason Kamb, and Ignacio Lopez-Gomez.