Welt ohne Menschen – es ginge auch ohne uns! - NIKIN EU

World without people – it would also work without us!

In view of climate change, natural disasters, wars and overpopulation, one can occasionally start to think. Is the “Humanity Model” an obsolete model? A few mind games on an interesting topic…

In view of climate change, natural disasters, wars and overpopulation, one can occasionally start to think. Is the “Humanity Model” an obsolete model? How did we even get this far? What if we didn't exist at all? And what if we no longer existed? A few mind games on an interesting topic…

 Welt ohne Menschen

Where do we come from anyway?

We humans, as we are today, are merely the end product of a long evolution. Before “Homo sapiens” (the “knowing” person, who is probably not that knowledgeable), there were early humans who paved the way for us.

Our earliest ancestors come from Africa - the link between humans and apes was probably the Australopithecus, which, however, was more similar to great apes than to today's humans. Our more human-like ancestors came from the Afar Rift area in Ethiopia. They were first clearly identified thanks to the fossil “Lucy”, a woman who probably walked upright. From Africa, Lucy's descendants colonized the entire world. Homo erectus, or “upright-walking human,” conquered Asia, where he probably encountered other early human species, which, however, soon died out. The Neanderthals came to Europe. And Cro-Magnon Man.

Various stages on the way to today's Homo Sapiens

From Homo erectus onwards, the incarnation takes place. Particularly impressive was the Homo neanderthalensis or Neanderthal, so named after the finds from the Neander Valley near Düsseldorf in Germany. Due to their stocky build, Neanderthals were ideally adapted to the cold climate of the interglacial period, during which they colonized Europe. He was displaced by the Cro Magnon people, the pioneers of today's Homo sapiens, who were already very similar to us. However, the Neanderthals were not completely extinct. Most of us carry his genetic material within us, because the human races have certainly mixed.

Homo sapiens – and the environment

With Homo sapiens, a type of human entered the world who created culture on a large scale for the first time. Cave paintings, small ivory sculptures and incised drawings take us into the world of these early people. First they settled in caves, like the Neanderthals. But they soon began building houses, settling down and farming. This begins the intervention in a nature with which one previously coexisted.

Forests were cleared and made way for fields. Animals that were once wild have been domesticated and modified through selective breeding. The mining of natural resources began - initially, of course, on a very small scale, then with increasing intensity as humans spread. The industrial exploitation of nature and wildlife by an excessive humanity is the ultimate consequence of this development

What would the world look like if humans had never existed?

Science has already figured out how to imagine a world without people. In the northern hemisphere it would probably be densely forested. Even in Roman times, you could cross Germany in the shade of trees.

But what would be even more serious is that the animals that we know today as steppe or mountain dwellers would also live in lowlands and forests without prejudice and without fear. Bears, wolves and lynxes would feel at home throughout Europe; animals that are nocturnal today, such as red deer, would never have given up their habit of grazing in the sunlight if they had never been hunted. The American horse and possibly the American camel would not have become extinct, and African wildlife would never have retreated to the savannahs.

What would happen if humans disappeared overnight?

The American researcher Alan Weisman also asked himself this question. In his book “The World Without Us” he imagines an earth on which, from one day to the next, there will no longer be a single human being.

Weisman notes that once we're gone, the planet will recover quickly. Nature will regreen where humans have caused clear-cutting. No more pollutants and emissions, no more light pollution.

Weisman focuses primarily on zones that humans have deliberately abandoned - such as the protection zone around Chernobyl. Here you can see how quickly nature's self-healing powers come to work.

Numerous animal species would recover quickly - according to Weisman, a billion animals among birds alone would remain alive if they no longer fell victim to high-voltage power lines, wind turbines or city light pollution. However, others would have to go: these include cultural followers such as lice, but also rats.

Our cities would probably be overgrown again within twenty or thirty years, settlements near the coast would be washed away by the sea, buildings would begin to crumble and collapse.

The only thing that would remain from us would be the pollutants. Radioactivity, the lead content in the soil, the CO² levels in the air, it would take much longer for our legacies to be processed!

Weisman's conclusion, however, is that we don't necessarily have to disappear completely. A more conscious approach to our wonderful planet would be enough to preserve it for future generations.

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