What would happen to all the things we know if humans were to suddenly vanish? This is a question that, believe it or not, resonates within the scientific community. In fact, if you ask that question about Earth, a myriad more will immediately spring to mind.
This scenario, although common in movies, remains somewhat alien to our comprehension. That’s why Carlton Basmajian, an associate professor of urban design, presented what could occur if humanity were to vanish suddenly.
The Earth one year later
If somehow, you were to return to Earth a year after humans had vanished, you’d notice something immediately. However, you wouldn’t see it, but rather, you’d hear it: the world would be in complete silence.
All the noise generated by humans in our daily lives, from our voices to cars, engines, electricity—everything would cease. You’d also notice a bluer sky, with the wind and rain feeling much more refreshing, devoid of any trace of smog or dust.
Moreover, there wouldn’t be any water in the taps, as water systems require constant pumping. With no one to operate the machinery, it’s logical that the water would stop flowing through the pipes. Nevertheless, the little remaining in them when everyone disappeared would freeze in the first cold wave, causing the pipes to burst in the process.
Another thing that would disappear is electricity; power plants would cease to function without workers. Thus, everything would be in darkness, and no appliances would work. If you were to visit your home, you’d find it without water, in darkness, and entirely covered in dust because ventilation systems would be inactive.
Grass would grow uncontrollably alongside weeds, covering everything. Many unknown plants to us would appear in our gardens, allowing vegetation to take over everything.
Insects would run rampant without humans to deter them. Normally, humans keep insects away from their homes, but now, without any repellent, their habitat would be all the land that was once ours.
With no one to scare them away, we’d now see animals wandering everywhere. First, we’d see the smaller ones: mice, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, beavers, among others.
Next, the larger animals like deer, coyotes, and bears would come. Perhaps this won’t happen in the first year, according to Basmajian, but they will eventually arrive. The expert also explains that with just the Sun’s, Moon’s, and stars’ light, nocturnal creatures will begin to reclaim their habitats.
With overgrown grass and underbrush, fires would become more frequent. A simple lightning strike in the right place would unleash massive waves of fire, consuming the remaining homes still standing.
After a year, the buildings, roads, or houses made of concrete would still have the same appearance, but perhaps we’d notice cracks or plants growing inside them. This is because the Earth is constantly in motion; this pressure would cause cracks, and there wouldn’t be anyone to maintain or repair them.
As the years pass, roads would start to crack so much that they couldn’t be called roads. Even trees would start growing through them.
Suspension bridges would collapse due to oxidation. The heavy beams and bolts that support the bridges would also oxidize, leading to their collapse. Dams and river or stream embankments would erode. Farms would once again become part of nature, though ironically, the plants we cultivate for our food would begin to disappear. Corn, potatoes, or tomatoes would become a thing of the past.
Farm animals would also vanish, as they are easy prey for predators like wolves, bears, or panthers. Domestic animals would turn wild, but they would also become prey for larger creatures, making it challenging for them to survive.
Finally, after several centuries, the Earth we remember would still be vaguely recognizable. Some things would remain in place, based on the materials used, the climate, or just sheer luck. A building, a square, maybe a cinema—everything would be ruins, much like the ancient world ruins we know today.
The professor concludes by noting that the sudden disappearance of humanity would reveal how we treated the Earth. It would also teach us that the world can survive without us, but we cannot survive without it. Therefore, to continue existing as a civilization, we must consider preserving our planet.
- “If Humans Went Extinct, What Would The Earth Look Like One Year Later?” – An article by Carlton Basmajian, contributor to iflscience.com https://www.iflscience.com/if-humans-went-extinct-what-would-the-earth-look-like-one-year-later-69510