Thoughts from the front lines

Life After Humans


Reading The MaddAddam Trilogy, fictional but based on our cruel reality, I keep wondering if Crake’s reason is right, whether it would be better off for the planet if humans disappeared.

Humans have been around for thousands and thousands of years, still some million years to go to beat the dinosaurs. We have made more progress (assumingly) than those reptiles: we have built structures, we have developed technology, etc.; but what if one day, all of us vanished, what would happen to all of those?

  • 1 day: lights are out. Most power plants without people to generate would shut down (except for hydro: they have limitless fuel to work by themselves). Plus, no worries for any radiation meltdown from nuclear power plants… yet. Subway/metro tunnels would be flooded after 36 hours.subway-flooded-635x357
  • 10 days: hard time for house pets: no one feeding them. Small dogs would be more likely to die first. They are princes and princesses waiting around to be fed. So consider getting a big one as in case you disappeared, they could get out and follow their natural instincts (my advice: huskies).
  • 1 year: plants start taking roots in our structures, and “once the tree roots…take hold, no human-built structure stands a chance” (Atwood 32). Remember those hydropower plants I mentioned? Now they would completely shut down as mussels would block the generators’ cooling pipes.
  • 20 years: wildlife would be thriving already: vegetation => herbivores => carnivores. Look at the Chernobyl disaster 20 years later.chernobyl2
  • 75 years: cars would completely corrode (it would take 20-25 years if they were at coastal cities like Miami). I wonder why there are piles of corroded cars if it has been only 1-2 years after the apocalypse in the books.
  • 100 years: no one (no aliens) would know our modern-time history as books, films would go back to dirt. It is not like they were carved in clay or stone walls like in ancient time.
  • 500 years: all buildings and infrastructure would go down.
  • 1,000 years: cities would become jungles.
  • 10,000 years: Great Wall of China, Great Pyramid of Giza, and Mount Rushmore might be the only evidence of human structures left behind.

Our time on Earth is short: only haft a minute of the planet’s life on a 24-hour scale, but look at the damages we have done.  Do you think Crake is right, about our problems coming from our greed? Everything has a golden age, do you think there would be such things as our replacements?


Find out more


de Vries, David; Hense, Jim; Cohen, Douglas; Kosa, Frank; Dolan, Sam; and Georgalis, Savas. Life After People. Top Documentary Films,

AsapSCIENCE. “What If Humans Disappeared?”

“Nature Is Speaking.” Conservation International,

Gammon, Katharine. “A Brief History of Dinosaurs.” Live Science,


7 thoughts on “Life After Humans

  1. At some point in my life, I was curious on what would happen if humanity ceased to exist and rather that was a possibility. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it is a possibility. However, I never thought that our extinction would be due to a virus, much less a virus created by a human. To be honest, I always thought that nature would wipe us out , but now that I think about it, I guess a lot of us would die if that was the case, but some of us would find some way to adapt. Anyhow, if humans stopped existing, the world would still turn around. Sure, certain species would die because of its dependence to human beings, but many others would prevail. It’s crazy to imagine a planet without human beings, I mean, we are suddenly taking the top predator in the pyramid, the impact of this would be immense!
    Also, to answer one of your questions, it is hard to say that ALL our problems are coming from greed, a lot of them definitely are, but what would be of evolution without greed? without our inborn competitiveness to strive to be better than others? It is a rather complicated topic to discuss about.
    Nonetheless, great topic, it is interesting since it is something I already pondered over. Good job! 🙂


  2. Great post, I really found it interesting how you laid out what would happen to the world by certain increments of time. I think we often see ourselves as the center of the world. We feel like humans run the world so it couldn’t go on without us. I personally have never even thought about what would happen to the world if humans ceased to exist so this blog really made me think. Great job!


  3. I never thought about what the world would be like without humans until reading your blogpost. I really enjoyed reading it.
    In a way I agree with Crake. I think a lot of humans problems stem from greed (along with ignorance). Although he was right concerning a lot of things like humans needing to take care of the planet more, he should never have taken it upon himself to destroy almost every human.
    In a certain sense, Crake is greedy because he had such a desire to get what he wanted. What he wanted was for the Earth to go through some Renaissance and start over without the “greedy humans”. By doing so, he showed his greed because he acted selfishly since he carried out plans only he wanted.


  4. I was captured by the very first few lines of your blog, especially when you raised the question of what would it be like if we all vanished one day; what would happen?

    What would a world without humans be like?
    A world without us would be “dead”. In some ways, us, humans, are innovators and without us, the world would be lifeless. What would be the point of a world be if humans are non existent; without life? Humans are the ones who allow new things to be created; they are the ones who bring change to the world. I believe that the whole point of the existence of humans is to create history. The existence of humans is what creates a story to be told from one generation to another. At some point, we may all cease to exist one day but at least history will be made.

    Overall, I think your post is great and i found it very interesting how you indicated what could happen throughout time to the world.


  5. Your title sucked me right in. The reason being that I have watched many documentaries that speak on a similar topic. What will the world truly look like after human beings vanish? It’s a very interesting topic that fuels a curious mind. You did very well in presenting your different aspects years after years. Something I wonder if planet earth would be better off without us, because we do it more harm than good. Also, I liked your blog because it’s similar to one of those question that we all secretly ask ourselves: “what happens when you die”. It fills your mind with curiosity, and hints of fear quite honestly.

    Good job on the post and good job in keeping it organized!


  6. Loved the way you broke down the future into bullet points, real clever! I had no idea that cars took that long to corrode. In my opinion, I think that although humans have caused a lot of damages, we’ve also made such amazing discoveries, as well as used our resources to our advantage. I personally could do without the pollution, as well as the raping (pardon my language) of resources, but overall, I don’t think the damage is irreversible. Look, I agree, if we don’t make changes fast, our time on earth might be limited, but with the advancement of technology, and the revolutionary scientific discoveries we’ve made, I think the damage to planet earth will only result in our migration to other planets, and the immortality of human beings. Sure, soon enough planet earth may be part of history, along with some generations, but our species is only getting stronger, so the aliens coming across the damages we’ve caused may very well be future humans, that will learn from our mistakes and certainly wont repeat them.


  7. Thinking about it scares me so much. Humans could destroy anything that is beautiful on earth if they can get a big amount of money from it. We do not see the importance of our environment because money makes us crazy. As humans, we only realise our errors when something bad happens to us. Unfortunately, it would be too late in this situation. Earth without humans would be a really beautiful environment.


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