There is a book that confronts that very issue. I haven’t read it yet but it seems to be very popular. It is called “The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman and it talks about what the world would be like if humans disappeared. It is worth holding independently what the world would look like if humans disappeared as well as if we had never existed because the state of the world would be very different. Animals that are generally hunted by humans would flourish and impacts that we have had on other eco-systems would be reversed or lessened, leaving the earth to be a much different place.
Interesting question. I would guess that animals and nature would dominate the earth. Overtime the land would be covered by vegetation and animal species would increase due to the fact that the hazards of humans would be gone.
Definitely consider reading The World Without Us, as it is an amazing book. It became one of my favorite green books of all time. And is written in beautiful prose. When it describes the last vestiges of old growth forests in Europe you can almost smell the decaying vegetation and hear the birds chirp. It explains the overall human footprint on the premise that human beings instantly evaporate from the world. It describes just how much the world has been affected by human waste already. We would leave lethal Nuclear Reactors unattended but our cities would be quickly overgrown with plant life and opportunistic animals. Our landfills aren’t going to degrade down anytime soon. It is my suggestion that our trash would dominate the earth for thousands if not millions of years. The oceans are filled with plastic particles; in addition to plastic crates and Styrofoam cups, which would remain for a long time. All the chemicals and pollution that has been accumulating in the natural world would mutate the natural path of evolution for a long time to come.
In terms of what species might replace our intellectual niche? I’m rooting for dolphins.
Without humans, quaternary consumers would continue to be “in charge.”
This is from Enchanted Learning:
Humans are quaternary consumers, but they are not the only quaternary consumers. Quaternary and tertiary consumers would continue to dominate the earth even if humans left it.
However, in some cases, because humans have killed off many of the high level consumers besides themselves, ecosystems would fall extremely out of balance. For example, if humans didn’t hunt deer in North America, the population would grow out of control and lead to the extinction of some animals, like songbirds, due to overgrazing.
Eventually, though the ecosystems may be different from than they started, the environment would even out and find a way to function.
I have not read the book that people are mentioning but I will be sure to do that. It sounds fascinating.
In my opinions, when humans are gone, we will leave behind a big and nasty footprint. By “gone” do you mean just like vanish? If so, many of our chemical plants and factories will malfunction and will surely leak chemicals and perhaps even explode. Invasive species that were introduced to areas by humans will continue to damage the ecosystem where they are settled. Chemicals that are present now will continue to collect and damage the environment.
What will dominate is remenance of humans.
Surely, nature and the earth will recover but I think the species that will thrive are the ones that can thrive in the environment we would create. Which that is, I do not know. Sorry.
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