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人类的影响能持续多久?

How long will human impacts last? - David Biello

人类努力夸大一切:他们的英雄 他们的敌人 他们自己的重要性
The human race exaggerates everything:its heros, its enemies, its importance.
想象下 距今一百万年后 外星人登上地球
Imagine aliens land on the planeta million years from now
并探测我们的地质记录
and look into the geologic record.
这些好奇的调查者会从我们这里发现什么呢?
What will these curioussearchers find of us?
他们会发现地质学家 科学家和其他专家
They will find what geologists,scientists, and other experts
所说的人类世
are increasingly callingthe Anthropocene,
或是 人新世
or new age of mankind.
我们人类的影响力无处不在 如此显著
The impacts that we humans makehave become so pervasive, profound,
长久 以至于地质学家认为我们在地质时代中开创了一个新的
and permanent that some geologists argue we merit our own epoch.
属于我们自己的纪元的单位
That would be a new unitin the geologic time scale
这个纪元单位追溯到超过45亿年前
that stretches backmore than 4.5 billion years,
或者可以说是地球开始成型的时刻
or ever since the Earth took shape.
现代人同多个冰冻期的冰山
Modern humans may be on par with the glaciers behind various ice ages
或是灭绝恐龙的行星一样
or the asteroid that doomedmost of the dinosaurs.
什么是纪元?
What is an epoch?
最简单的说法 它是地质时期的单位
Most simply, it’s a unit of geologic time.
更新世 见证了现代人进化的冰河期
There’s the Pleistocene, an icy epoch that saw the evolution of modern humans.
或是始新世 距今有3400多万年
Or there’s the Eocene,more than 34 million years ago,
这是个温室时期
a hothouse time during which
这期间 大陆分裂成了现在的样子
the continents driftedinto their present configuration.
天气变化或在岩石中找到的化石记录
Changes in climate or fossilsfound in the rock record
有利于分辨这些纪元 同时有利于地质学家研究更早的时期
help distinguish these epochsand help geologists tell deep time.
那么 现代人对于这个星球的影响将怎样记录呢?
So what will be the record of modern people’s impact on the planet?
它不是靠今天那些明显的东西
It doesn’t rely on the things that may seem most obvious to us today,
比如延伸的城市
like sprawling cities.
100万年之后 当城市都被沙石湮没
Even New York or Shanghaimay prove hard to find
即使纽约或上海这样的大城市都很难找到了
buried in the rocksa million years from now.
但人类给这个世界带来了新的东西
But humans have put new thingsinto the world
这个东西从没存在在地球上
that never existed on Earth before,
比如 钚和塑料
like plutonium and plastics.
事实上 制定地质时间表的
In fact, the geologistsknown as stratigraphers
地层学家
who determine the geologic timescale,
已经提出了人类世的起始时间 大约在1950年
have proposed a start datefor the Anthropocene around 1950.
那时人们开始全世界地
That’s when people started blowing up nuclear
使用原子弹
bombs all around the world
并向空中释放出新的元素
and scattering novel elementsto the winds.
那些元素会在岩土层里保存
Those elements will lastin the rock record,
甚至在我们的骨头和牙齿里 能存在几百万年
even in our bones and teethfor millions of years.
仅仅50年 我们就已经产生了相当多的塑料
And in just 50 years,we’ve made enough plastic,
至少有80亿公吨
at least 8 billion metric tons,
能薄薄地将整个世界包起来
to cover the whole world in a thin film.
人类的农业 渔业 林业活动
People’s farming, fishing,
也会改变岩层的成分
and forestry will also show up as a before and after
因为那些活动
in any such strata because it’s those kinds of activities
导致一些独特物种的灭绝
that are causing unique species of plants and animals to die out.
4万多年前 当人类在非洲开始繁衍
This die-off started perhaps more than40,000 years ago
同时也登陆了像澳洲这样的地方时
as humanity spread out of Africa
物种灭绝就开始了
and reached places like Australia,
人类开始猎食猪和其它能吃的动物
kicking off the disappearanceof big, likable, and edible animals.
欧洲亚洲也是如此 比如猎杀毛毛的猛犸象
This is true of Europe and Asia,think woolly mammoth,
还有南北美洲也有猎杀活动
as well as North and South America, too.
智人 这个只在地球存在了
For a species that has only roamed the planet
几十万年的物种
for a few hundred thousand years,
已经影响了未来的化石记录
Homo sapiens has had a big impact on the future fossil record.
那意味着 即使人类明天就灭绝了
That also means that even if peoplewere to disappear tomorrow,
世界的进化也要被我们的影响所驱动着
evolution would be drivenby our choices to date.
我们正创造一个新智人的世界
We’re making a new homogenous world
这个世界里 我们有特定青睐的动植物
of certain favored plants and animals,
比如玉米和老鼠
like corn and rats.
但是这个世界不像之前的世界
But it’s a world that’s not as resilient
那样恢复性强
as the one it replaces.
正如化石记录表明
As the fossil record shows,
这个世界上的动植物具有多样性
it’s a diversity of plants and animals
且动植物界具有独特的配对
that allows unique pairingsof flora and fauna
这样能很好的应对环境的挑战 甚至能在大灾难之后重新繁荣起来
to respond to environmental challenges,and even thrive after an apocalypse.
对于人类来说 也是如此
That goes for people, too.
如果因为二氧化碳太多而导致的
If the microscopic plantsof the ocean suffer
海洋里的微生植物受到损害
as a result of too muchcarbon dioxide, say,
我们将会失去我们呼吸
we’ll lose the source of as much
所需的1/2的氧气量
as half of the oxygen we need to breathe.
之后在岩石里 会因此留下痕迹
Then there’s the smudge in future rocks.
人类烧煤 油 和天然气的活动
People’s penchant for burning coal,oil, and natural gas
已经向全球排放出了一些烟灰
has spread tiny bits of sootall over the planet.
这些痕迹数量与
That smudge correspondswith a meteoric rise
空气中快速上升的二氧化碳的量的比值
in the amountof carbon dioxide in the air,
现在都超过了400比一百万
now beyond 400 parts per million,
或者比任何智人呼吸到的空气都高
or higher than any other Homo sapienshas ever breathed.
相似的烟灰在古岩石中也被发现
Similar soot can stillbe found in ancient rocks
该岩石来自6600万年前的火山灰
from volcanic firesof 66 million years ago,
记录了白垩纪末期
a record of the cataclysm touched offby an asteroid
由行星引起的大灾难
at the end of the late Cretaceous epoch.
所以 可能我们的烟灰
So odds are our soot will
在6600万年之后还在这里
still be here 66 million years from now,
可以很容易被想探索的外星人发现
easy enough to find for any alienswho care to look.
当然 我们与行星有很重要的不同
Of course, there’s an importantdifference between us and an asteroid.
一个空间石头不能选择 只能遵从重力
A space rock has no choicebut to follow gravity.
我们却可以选择
We can choose to do differently.
如果我们做出选择
And if we do,
那么千年或甚至百万年之后
there might still be some kind of human civilization thousands
可能还有一些人类文明存在
or even millions of years from now.
我们希望能如此 这也不失为一个不错的记录
Not a bad record to hope for.

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视频概述

即使人类有一天从地球消失了 但是地球上依然会有人类的痕迹

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

lala

审核员

审核员V

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zsc8G0NnMTs

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