What Would Happen If Humans Disappeared?
It could be said that humans have really done a number on the planet.
We’ve created a mess with our industrialization.
The creation of toxic chemicals, garbage dumps and oceans filled with plastic
and giant urban sprawls that have eaten up big chunks of nature.
With all these stuff happening,
it might not be a bad idea if suddenly humans disappeared overnight.
显然 在人类不幸集体消失的这段时间里 会有很多事情发生
It’s obvious a lot of things would be happening during the cataclysmic disappearance.
With that said, let’s run a mind-thought experiment
and see what would happen if humans disappeared.
Imagine a world in motion,
人类正控制着各种各样的系统 车辆 机械和飞行器
humans are controlling all kinds of systems, vehicles, machines and aircraft.
If we suddenly disappeared,
it is assumed that the machines that we are operating would come to a halt.
But not without a lot of ensuing chaos,
airplanes would fall from the sky,
cars would keep going in the direction they were moving
without anyone to control or stop them,
and machines we control to build things
would either keep drilling, digging or moving something.
With nothing controlling these machines,
there would be at least an hour
to several hours of destruction.
It would be a good thing that
humans would be missing from this part of our disappearance.
This doesn’t even include factories, coal and power plants,
煤气厂 炼油厂 核电站
gas works, oil refineries, nuclear power plants
and other industrial places that have some sort of problem
without humans of the controls
However, it is very probable that the lights will go out first
and likely within a few hours should we cease to exist.
The only power plants that would still be making power,
would be hydroelectric plants, like the Hoover Dam.
These can provide power for months, perhaps even years
without any type of human maintenance.
Speaking of water,
there are some places in the world that use pumps to
keep groundwater from flooding streets and metro and subway tunnels.
These areas would likely fill with water with no power to operate them.
Nuclear power plants would automatically go into safe mode at some point
and fossil fuel plants would run out of energy shortly after.
If the systems and nuclear power plants shut everything down,
there would likely be no disasters, such as Fukushima or Chernobyl.
However, there is still a chance of nuclear meltdown at a plant
that would result in tons of radioactive matter escaping into the air,
water or soil, causing radiation contamination worldwide.
Spent nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants
is generally stored in pools and on-site facilities.
Without people to ensure that this water remains cool,
the heat of the fuel rods boils it away and the fuel rods catch fire.
The resulting nuclear disasters spread fallout over large areas.
Most plants and animals within the affected zones die.
The bigger problem would be chemical plants that create dangerous chemicals.
These plants are carefully controlled and maintained.
Many chemicals require electricity to remain stable.
Cut the power in these plants,
and you suddenly have a big problem.
The plants could explode
and the chemicals that would be released into the Earth’s atmosphere,
would create a chemical nuclear winter.
Sewage treatment facilities fail without electricity,
leaving sewage treatment plants useless.
Raw sewage begins polluting rivers and lakes.
Unlike unattended nuclear power plants,
unattended oil refineries would explode
as they are already dangerous even with the crew managing operations,
not to mention the time bombs left in
petroleum tanks, chemical plants and power plants
that might poison the earth beneath them for eons.
However, if that didn’t destroy all other living things,
then the animals would become the rulers of the world.
Shortly after humans were gone, animals would then take over the world.
Perhaps even the insects would also be a big part of
this new ecosystem without humans.
Animals that were domesticated have to suddenly fight for survival.
Most food on the supermarket shelves and inside home refrigerators has rotted.
Pets still trapped inside houses can drink the water
leaking from thawed freezers.
But a mass die-off of domestic animals begins.
Those that can escape homes and yards will begin to scavenge for food.
But many domestic dog breeds,
especially small dogs and those bred for special qualities,
like stubby legs and short muzzles
will be unable to survive long in the wild.
This would lead to many wild animals going into cities
or making their way to farms or grazing pastures to hunt as they normally would.
After several years,
the animal populations might change or balance themselves out.
Domestic cats and dogs would have to learn to be wild
or face extinction now without their human providers.
而没有了人类的阻拦 熊 狮子还有其他野生动物
Bears, lions and other wild animals would be able to go wherever they please
without humans to stop them.
With no more electric fences to corral them,
about 1 billion pigs, 1.5 billion cows and 20 billion chickens
would either starve to death or become food for other animals.
After just two weeks from Japan to California,
3.5 million tons of garbage goes uncollected
and storms washed some of it out to sea,
increasing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
After the months, perhaps years of us disappearing,
our cities and the earth would start to change and adapt.
Most of the cities might start to become overgrown with trees, plants and vines.
This is assuming that the chemical winter or radiation
from nuclear power plants that lost their cooling systems
didn’t put the earth back into the dark ages.
Plants have taken over,
turning manicured lawns into overgrown fields.
Weeds grow in cracks in the roads,
eventually, forming a layer of nutrient poor topsoil,
where clover fields take root.
Plants and ivy take root in stone and masonry work
and begin to damage the foundations of buildings.
Wild animals will have found shelter in the abandoned cities.
Sparked by lightning storms,
many wildfires will go unchecked without people to fight them.
These fires can burn down entire towns and damage cities,
such as Chicago, San Francisco and Rome.
The charred rubble provides the nitrogen that plants need to grow,
and plant life consumes the ruins.
Satellites that were put into orbit
would likely start to fall to the earth, like shooting stars.
And after three years,
the International Space Station would lose its altitude and fall to earth.
Without anyone taking care of things like roads and buildings,
roads would be cracked or covered with thick vines or moss
as the earth started to take back what rightfully belonged to her in the beginning.
New trees grow at home gardens.
Vehicles and other metallic structures begin to succumb to corrosion
that strips away paint and protective coatings,
resulting in rust that eats through metal.
Many of the 1 billion automobiles will soon degrade into hollow husks.
After 30 years,
the earth will be a very different place without humans.
Most houses and buildings would have begun to deteriorate and collapse.
With the weather being unchanged,
tornadoes, hurricanes and other violent weather would strip places of homes and buildings,
never to be rebuilt again.
Grasslands and expanding forest would overrun cities and urban neighborhoods.
Birds of prey like Eagles or Hawks,
would make their nests in skyscrapers long left vacant.
Anything made of metal, such as cars or building structures,
would be covered in rust from oxidation and disintegration.
Packs of feral dogs would roam streets looking for their next meal
while some large animals would be thriving in the ruins of big cities.
Sea life would possibly make a big recovery without overfishing
and the oceans might be once again filled with huge schools of fish.
Whales would make a comeback and roam the oceans once again.
Some buildings would collapse after years of moisture,
with most northern cities having gutted skyscrapers filled with rainwater and snow.
After years of rainwater pouring through floors and rotting ceilings,
the cold would freeze it and cracks would appear in the concrete pillars and walls.
After many years, the buildings would eventually collapse.
There would be an eerie silence
that covered the face of the planet without humans.
The planet is not a constant place.
Without humans, the most excessive industrial carbon dioxide
would dissipate within 200 years, which would cool the atmosphere.
With no further chlorine and bromine leaking skyward, within decades,
the ozone layer would replenish and ultraviolet damage would subside.
During that same span,
every dam on earth would silt up and spill over.
Rivers would again carry nutrients towards the oceans and seas,
where most life would have survived
as it was long before vertebrate’s crawled onto the shore.
The cooling phase would probably bring on another Ice Age.
Life would survive in other forms,
the plants and the animals and the planet would likely heal itself.
Everything man-made would have rusted or decayed by now.
Some skyscrapers would still likely be standing.
Although there would be nothing left, but rusted and decayed skeletons.
But there would be some small signs here and there
that at one time an intelligent species that once ruled the planet
and after 1,000 years,
you might have to look very hard for signs that humans ever existed.
A newly formed planet covered with wild animals,
forests of green, ice sheets in the northern hemisphere.
If there is anything important to be learned from this experiment,
it is the impact we have on the world around us.
The damage that we have caused to simply exist in a world that really doesn’t belong to us.
可以想象 在我们人类消失很久以后 地球上发生的一切堪称惨剧
It is a grim tale to think about the earth long after we are gone.
But the earth has survived far worse than
anything humans have ever done
and it will survive long after we are gone.