What would happen if humans disappeared?

I just watched a TED-ed video inspired by Alan Weisman’s book “The World Without Us”. With vivid animations and powerful narration, the video below answers the strange question of what would happen if humans suddenly disappeared.

What would happen in the first hours after we disappeared is actually scary. It made me realize (once again?) that our presence on Earth comes at a high cost. Our way of life is literally hurting the planet, the very same planet that sustains us. Could this mean we are undermining our own future?

Filled with disappointment, I welcomed with relief the more gradual changes on a planet without humans. We often think of the future as post-apocalyptic, but a future without humans wouldn’t be dark at all. It would be colourful and vibrant. With humans long gone, Earth would start reclaiming its soil, water and air. Flora and fauna would flourish.

As the narrator says, we were not always here, and we will not be here forever, which reminds me of a quote by astrophysicist Brian Cox in another documentary: “Human life on Earth last only for a moment, and that moment is now”. Sadly, we forget this, and we go about our life as if this planet was indebted to us.

From the plastic bottles in our bathroom to the avocadoes in our salads, every little choice we make has an impact. Some people think it’s negligible, so why bother? No matter how small though, our impact accumulates and multiplies, so why not make it positive?

As I pledged in my New Year’s Resolutions, I try to be closer to nature. Whenever I am outdoors, I put effort to be present and observe my natural surroundings. It makes me feel at ease, peaceful. I’ve even started growing some tiny amounts of vegetable. Every day I get to see how nature reciprocates when treated with care.

My carbon footprint is large, larger than many people’s. Growing twenty tomatoes per year in a balcony greenhouse will not offset it, and it will not stop tomatoes being imported from abroad. However, every little contribution counts, and every action to the right direction can lessen the problem.

The most important thing is to remember that we are guests here, and our life has an impact, so let’s make it, if not positive, as less negative as humanly possible.

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