Our earth our souls

journal entry #12 (290-353 pages) [The End]

As the possibilities of life without humans come to a close, an interesting theory arises. “We don’t get out of this life alive and neither will the earth. Around 5 billion years from now, the sun will expand into a red giant, absorbing all the inner planets back into its fiery womb.” Wow! That’s a lot to wrap your head around. I think this prediction may be true, but after all, I won’t be alive to see if it is.

The sun compared to the earth
The sun compared to the earth

More crucial to us still on earth right now, is whether we humans can make it through what many scientists call this planets latest great extinction. What? We’re becoming extinct? How? Relax, this has been a theory studied for years and is very inaccurate and has been proven wrong many times. In my opinion, the correct answer to whether this world would go on without us is “who knows”. We can come up with millions of possibilities to and explain thiscrazy scenario but none would be true without everybody ACTUALLY disappearing and somebody ACTULLY watching.

The estimated world population growth
The estimated world population growth If child per mother rate were to drop to 2.0

The last factor is our population, it seems to keep on growing and growing. A study revealed that if the child per mother rate dropped from 2.6 to 2.0 our current population would decrease by 1 billion by 2050. That’s crazy, but if the rate were to stay the same, our population would increase to an estimated 9 billion people by the year 2050. I can predict, at that point, life on earth for all species would change dramatically. This is because so much of what we do is magnified by chain reactions. What is a chain reaction? For example, by us humans burning fossil fuels, we continue to break down the ozone layer which leads to glaciers and the polar ice caps melting in the arctic. This finally leads to the death of polar bears because there isn’t any ice to live on and they can’t swim forever. What will happen to earth in the future is a mystery, but what we’ve done in the past, that’s history.

 

 

The World Without War

Journal Entry #11 (237- 290 pages)

What would the world be like without nuclear bombs, guns, chemical gasses and more. The environment as well as the wildlife would be able to flourish but instead. “War can damn early ecosystems to hell: witness Vietnams’s poisoned jungles.” During Nicaragua’s  Contra war of the 1980s, war curiously has often been nature’s salvation, in respect to the rebound of the Caribbean pine which took less than a decade. I can predict in the future with no humans around that the wildlife will flourish and the forests will reclaim their former realm.

Vietnamese babies, deformed when born due to exposure to prenatal dioxin
Vietnamese babies, deformed when born due to exposure to prenatal dioxin

I came across an acronym I wasn’t sure of which was “DMZ”, after I researched it I figured out it meant demilitarized zone. It is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula. I can predict this means that strip of land has been removed of any bombs and is no longer a place of concern or danger.

In my opinion war is something that should NEVER happen. What does it solve? The hundreds of casualties and lost loved ones over pointless conflict! It disgusts me to think that countries hate each other so much they are willing to try and kill each other. We live in a world where comprmise and agreement is not valued. Where people would rather have everything and kill people in the process than have half and leave the weapons alone.

a world without war seems impossible with what we’ve become as a race. But what if a world without war was possible? Without humans. how would the earth be?

I think without humans, the world would be a much better place. The animals would roam without the sounds of gunshots, the trees would create another world within their forests. But that’s just my imagination, we’ve taken this world for granted, that’s our generation.

 

Double journal

Journal Entry #10

1.) “Now we’re getting that vegetation back, All the tree species are returning.”

– This quote is HUGE in significance to the book because it lets you foreshadow what will happen to the world once all the humans disappear. In my opinion, this creates a clear image in your mind that you can see without actually being there. The big trees growing back up out of the ground after being cut down, one by one. The author does an excellent job of using setting and tone to  establish his pictures through words.

2.) “What makes New York City a great city is its cultural diversity, but botanically were xenophobic.”

– The significance of this quote is very eye opening and contains a heavy message in ties with the world. The author is using a comparison to people and botanical life which is trees, plants, and flowers. Referring to New York city’s human diversity of all kinds of different people is good in a sense. People from all over the world reside in the big apple. But when it comes to different trees, plants and flowers they are very picky and kill off the ones who don’t fit the standard. This provides the reason as to why New York is hugged by clouds of smoke, simply because of the lack of fresh air and the increase of burning fossil fuels.

3.) “No memorials will mark their burial, through the roots of cotton-woods, willows and palms may occasionally make note of their presence.”

– If humans were to disappear, our existence will slowly rot until all that remains is the fallen buildings, cracked sidewalks and the new wildlife taking form. This  quote has a very deep significance because when the next generation of people come along they will see we failed as species seeing our remains sometimes through the new grown roots of trees.

4.) “As we increase in population size, the earth will continue to be widened and used to hold everyone.”

– As the population of the world continues to increase the open grasslands and untouched rivers will be forced to be removed. The author is foreshadowing this in his writing by saying as more people come onto the earth, we must  accommodate for them. This means building more houses and more stores to give people what they need to live and make money. We often don’t think we’re doing anything wrong because the world constantly gives and gives to us. An every time it does we take in for granted. But one day, everything will be gone and we will wonder why we never got a warning sign.

5.) “We don’t get out of this life alive, and neither will the earth.”

– This quote in my opinion provides the greatest significance to life as we know it. As we know, nobody on the earth lives forever. But what does it mean when it says “neither will the earth”? It later explains around 5 billion years from now, the sun will expand into a red giant and absorb all the inner planets back into its fiery womb. Now, this may be true, but unfortunately I won’t be around that long to find out, and neither will you. But one thing I can be sure of is, I don’t think blogs will be around either. Finally, This earth is filled with mystery’s around every corner and it’s crazy to believe what would happen if us humans didn’t exist.

 

 

The World Without Farms

Journal Entry #9 (183-237 pages)

A world without farms?  Nearly 12% of the planets landmass is cultivated compared to about 3% which are the towns and cities. I can predict, without farms, the lands will return to their former, pre-agro-pastoral state. Do we even know what that is? It’s the idea of the land we’ve played with over and over again May or may not recover from us. The agriculture let us settle down and the settlement led to urbanity. Yet imposing as skylines are, farmlands have much more impact. I think that because, although skylines are very pretty to look at, having a farmland will provide you with food and the essentials to live and make money which is how you survive. In a human free wilderness… “Now we’re getting that vegetation back, All the major tree species are returning.” I can predict, with the tree species coming back, so will the animals. Some, like moose, beavers and more will arrive on their own without any humans to stop them. Imagine, beaver dams spaced regularly on every stream, creating wetlands strung like fat pearls along their length. The wild would be even more beautiful than it already is, hard to believe right?

Beaver dam
Beaver dam

A ground breaking project  was Rothamsted’s research archive which was never found. It continued over 300,000 specimen sealed in thick glass tins. These specimen were labelled with a numbering system, soil and preserved plant matter just to name a few of what is sealed into those thick jars. I can predict that if someone were to find these specimen then they would find that the pH would be dropping farther into the acid  by the early 20th century. I think this because as time elapses, so does the pH of the plants and soil causing it to become more acidic. What i also noticed in this reading was how the author used foreshadowing to relate to the next topic. In the reading he talked about how farmlands were often used as war grounds and many crops were destroyed because of it. Well, the next chapter is “The World Without War”.

 

 

Polymers are Forever

Journal Entry #8 (140-182 pages)

Polymers? A substance that has a molecular structure consisting of a large number of similar units. For example, plastic, something we use a lot of in this world and it’s something that doesn’t just disappear overtime. If humans were to cease activity tomorrow it would take thousands of years, possibly more, for all the plastic to disappear. I wonder why the plastic takes such a long time to dissolve. I can predict in the future that humans will decrease the use of plastic due to the extended time period it takes to dispose of it. I can also predict that land fills will become overfilled and be forced to expand as the use of plastic continues to increase.

Plastic on the ocean floor
Plastic on the ocean shore

Throughout the world plastic is produced at record numbers shattering the minds of people when India alone has 5,000 processing plants which were producing plastic bags. Also Kenya, turning out around 4,000 tons of bags a month with NO potential for recycling. I wonder why these people produce products such as this that’s can’t be recycled which do nothing more but hurt and  ruin the environment. Along with the bags comes these little pellets known as nurdles, Frank Moore, who attended the U.S. National Academy of Science said he was finding these pellets everywhere! One of the most hurtful was the little pellets being found trapped in the bodies of jellyfish and scalps, the oceans most known filter-feeders.

what also makes plastic a harmful material is the fact it can’t be dissolved in water. I can predict as years go on, more and more plastic will be found in lakes, rivers, streams and oceans. Simply because it will not go away on its own, that is unless an animal intakes it which can be very harmful to wildlife. Such as fish, bears and sharks. The animals who get there food from water.

as for today. the amount of plastic used would take tens of thousands of years to consume. But eventually, it will all biodegrade. That would take approximately 100,000 years. I wonder why the world hasn’t came up with a type of plastic that CAN dissolve  in a much shorter time. Instead of handing out thousands in grocery store lines.

What Lasts

Journal Entry #7 (125-140 pages)

What would remain when all the humans are gone?  It’s hard to see exactly what holds up the enormous, round dome of Istanbul’s formerly Orthodox Christian marble, and the mosaic-encrusted church of Hagia Sophia. I predict, with the humans gone and no masons to re-point it, the dome will eventually fall and turn into debris.

Istanbul's round dome
Istanbul’s round dome

In September 1985, the US government rushed So-zen to Mexico City to analyze how it’s embassy had weathered a 8.1 magnitude earthquake. The outcome of this was that It had collapsed nearly 1,000 buildings but the embassy was still intact. What I find confusing is the fact that all these buildings collapsed but the most important one remained intact after an earthquake way off the Richter scale.

Next, a new place was introduced called Cappadocia, located in Turkey. What is found here is something beyond your imagination. Not flying dogs, not 300 feet roller coasters but underground cities. That’s right, 8 underground cities have been discovered since 1965. A resident who was cleaning a back room of his cave broke through a wall which led to an unfamiliar room. That led to a room, then another, and another. Some believed the first builders were the Hittites. I predict, as generations and generations of people lived down here, they continued to dig deeper and deeper which resulted in the underground city to collapse one day. What amazes me is that these people were able to route water and provide underground drains to prevent flooding. I wonder why these people created these underground cities, was being above ground dangerous? Were they afraid of something?  Many groups used this hidden sub-surface world, such as the Assyrians, Romans, Persians, Seljuk Turks and Christians. I would have predicted the people of these groups got tired of living underground and they decided to leave and the next group would arrive, creating a cycle. This cycle went on for years and years, paying homage to a new group of people every time.

Under Ground city in Turkey
Under ground city in Turkey

The author paints a very clear image in your mind by describing what the underground world would look like. Fire being the only light source and tight holes in which people could only fit into going one by one. I wonder what it was like to not see the sun.

 

Talking Earth (Assigned)

Journal Entry #6 (100-125 pages)

Dear, humans

Before you were gone, I was getting worse and worse every year… My forests were getting cut down, my animals were being killed and my ozone was getting destroyed, layer by layer. It seemed like nobody cared about me, you just kept creating more and more destruction. It seems like you would rather have factories that make money than a beautiful forest, which to me, has no price tag.  I was meant to be enjoyed and kept safe but instead, you keep trying to get rid of me simply to live better. My oceans and forests are supposed to be enjoyed by all of you, but instead you insist on making them your next fast food location.

 

Talking Earth
Talking Earth

But one day, you all disappeared… The 7 billion of you that once roamed the earth for generations and generations were gone. I immediately begun reconstruction, but not with machines or workers. It was nature taking back what was taken from them. The concrete jungle of NYC will be made way for the new jungle, filled with trees and wildlife. Animals will begin to reproduce and grow in population, instead of becoming extinct.  You don’t realize the destruction you have done to me because I keep on giving and giving. What if I took away the beautiful clear water beaches? What if I took away the sun that warms the air? What if I took away the beauty you people take pictures of? What if?

I am constantly being wrecked by people who pollute the air. I don’t need it but YOU do. Instead of cutting down trees… Plant one. It’s little things that help make the world a better place. “Be the change you want to see in the world” speaks volumes as to what you are capable of as individuals. If everyone of us were to plant one tree each, think of all the fresh air we’d have to breathe. There is only one earth, that’s me. If you guys destroy me, there’s no backup plan. It’s time to make me a better place and I will definitely reward you for it.

From, Earth

 

 

The Lost Menagerie

Journal Entry #5 (67-100)

A naturalist named Thomas Jefferson from the past, developed a strong interest in huge bones, which he studied for years. These huge bones ranged from animals such as elephants, Lions, mammoths and more! I think that he developed that interest for huge bones from the past theories of large animals roaming the earth, and the fact we had no idea what existed before us humans. Jefferson was also credited with founding the science of paleontology even though that wasn’t his intention. I can connect this to my own life, which is very similar. For example, whenever I’m searching for something 99% of the time I find something I’m not even looking for! Funny right? I agree.

Woolly Mammoth bones
Woolly Mammoth bones

Next is Paul Martin, a student at the university of Arizona in 1956 who noticed something odd about the number of mammals that had disappeared. Through his studies, he realized about 13,000 years ago, an explosion of extinctions had occurred. I can predict in the future that many more large animals will become extinct because of the damage humans are doing to the world. Among the missing, there was said to be giant beavers! Wait, what? Yes, giant beavers the size of black bears. I think that’s a bit far fetched considering beavers are no where near that big in today’s world. But who really knows what was alive back then when there were no humans to record it.

Menagerie: A collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition

Throughout the reading I came across the word “Clovis” a lot which left me with one question. What does it mean? After some research I discovered Clovis were a Paleo-Indian culture of Central and North America dated back about 11,000 years ago. A handful of archaeological sites supposedly predate Clovis. I wonder why these Clovis people are such an important factor on figuring out how the world was geographically shaped. All we know is that these people were wiped out. But in the book it says they didn’t face any human competition but animals. How could this be possible? Were the animals their killers? what caused these people to die out? All we have is our imagination.

Taxidermy cougar
Taxidermy cougar

imagine a room full  dangerous animals but when you were in that room you felt completely safe. That’s called taxidermy, the killing of animals and having them stuffed to represent a trophy in most peoples mind. Much of the reason animals have become extinct is because we are their murderers, we have wiped hundreds of species off the planet simply for ambition. With no humans on earth, I predict a lot of new species will evolve and walk the earth like the many before them.

 

 

 

The World Just Before Us

Journal Entry #4 (47-67 pages)

At this point in the book, the story is still being told through a second person perspective. The situation is that there are no humans anywhere in the world. Now, the problems and outcomes of this fantasy are introduced. It went from wildlife, plants and trees to the oceans, rivers and lakes as well as CO2 in the atmosphere.

A new character is introduced named Tyler Vole, a architect teaching atmospheric physics and marine chemistry at New York university. In my opinion he knows what he’s talking about, describing his work in great detail. Volk says “Until about 200 years ago, carbon dioxide from the gaseous part above dissolved into the liquid part below at a steady rate that kept the world balanced.” But now with the levels of atmospheric so high, the ocean needs to readjust.

With no more people burning fuels, the oceans surface will absorb CO2 very fast but as it saturates, it slows down. I can connect this with a personal experience of mine when running 1500 meters in track. I start out very fast and I’m ahead of everyone but as time goes on, I start to slow down and end up finishing in last. Not the greatest comparison but it makes sense!

I predict… With the amount of time it takes for the ocean to completely turn over. After 100,00 years this will take CO2 back to pre-human levels. With all the damage we’ve done to the atmosphere for years and years, that isn’t a very long time to have things back.

Another character that is introduced is Andy Cohan, a paleontologist who attends the university of Arizona. He heads a project in Kigali, Tanzania on lake Tanganyika’s eastern shore.

Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika

He wants to penetrate a 5-10 million year old core with a drill rig. This idea simply blows my mind because by drilling into something that’s old it may cause an offset of balance and cause problems. But it also could result in a history changing find because the cores record would span the years during which primates took their first biological steps. Then they continued to evolve until us, also known as sapiens.

The last character to be introduced was Kate Detwiler, a  PhD.Candidate in 2005 whoa attended New York university.  I very much enjoy how the author uses many different people to inform you about the different topics of study from people who do it for a living. She explains her experiments with two different types of monkeys and how they have evolved due to interbreeding. She also looks back on us humans and how we evolved from monkeys. I do indeed believe this theory is true because we must have became humans from something, we weren’t just sent on this earth from nowhere…. or were we?

Human Evolution
Human Evolution

 

 

The City without Us

Journal Entry #3 (27-47 pages)

Without humans the idea that New York city will be overtaken with all types of different trees and plants emerges. Ranging from wildflower, prim rose, Woodward, eglantine and cowslip. It also talks about Eric Sander-son and his newly revised Manhattan project. His plan is to recreate the islands as the Dutch found it. Unlike other forests, humans have yet to set foot on.

Trees taking over the city
Trees taking over the city

About 11,000 years ago, as the last ice age receded Northward from Manhattan it pulled along the spruce and tamarack taiga that today grows below the Canadian tundra.  In the reading it explains where the the different and very unique trees come from, such as China, Italy, France etc. Now, Chuck Peters of New York Botanical Gardens says that without us here meaning human life, a cosmopolitan botanical mixture would occur, which may not be a bad thing at all. He says “What makes New York a great city is it’s cultural diversity, but botanically, were xenophobic.” This means, they have a prejudice towards there plants and only allow the regular to live while they ship or kill the other ones. For example, they want the exotic and aggressive species to go and only keep the native ones.

Jameel Ahmad, Cooper Union’s civil engineering chair says Biodiversity will increase even more. With buildings smashing and tumbling into each other. The lime from crushed concrete raises soil pH, inviting in trees that need the less acidic environment such as buck-horn and birch. He believes that process will begin much faster than people might think. Jameel now teaches how to design and retrofit buildings to withstand terrorist attacks.

In my opinion, the damage we have done to the world will eventually back fire on us resulting in the world ending. I believe this because over and over again the world has given us second chances but again and again we continue to cut down forests, add more and more pollution into the air from factories and simply treat the world as if its ours. We are their guests, the trees, animals, wildlife and we have taken complete advantage of that and instead of ruining it we need to rebuild it.

Jameel also states that With the high ferocious winds of the Atlantic coast, buildings will topple and smash into other buildings. You wonder what will take the buildings place…. but gradually the concrete jungle will make way for a real one.