What Would Happen If Humanity Fell Asleep for 1,000 Years and Then Woke Up
If humans ceased to exist, 3.5 million tons of garbage from Japan to California would remain uncollected. This means that even more plastic waste would be roaming the streets, forests, and oceans. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if we woke up 1,000 years later and there were still plastic McDonald’s cups lying around. But it’s not all bad news since the absence of humans would do a ton of good to the planet and all its features.
Bright Side has thought of 8 surreal hypotheses that would become real if we went to sleep for 1,000 years.
1. Forests would’ve grown back everywhere on Earth.
A heavily damaged rainforest needs over 4,000 years to fully regenerate all its features. That’s because human activity makes it hard for it to do its job faster. So if humans didn’t exist on the planet, trees and all of nature’s elements would grow back much faster than expected.
The animals that live in forests would also start growing in numbers since they would have an abundance of food. And animals are a key factor in the regeneration of a cleared forested area. Additionally, trees that love shade would have plenty of time to find their spots and grow. This procedure would take over 160 years.
2. A gigantic number of buildings would have collapsed.
Most roof shingles used to construct homes are built to last 20-30 years. After that, leaks and other issues would appear, requiring human intervention to fix them. The moment your roof starts leaking, it’s only a matter of time before the water rots your wooden roof and your walls. Because of this, wooden structures would be the first to go.
Glass and metal structures would also start decaying very fast. So you can forget about all these super tall and fancy skyscrapers where your job is located. The only buildings that would probably still be standing after 1,000 years are ones made of stone.
3. The planet would have gone pitch black.
The first day after people would go to sleep, most fossil fuel power stations would shut down, resulting in blackouts all over the world. Only Times Square and Las Vegas would still have light for a few more days. All our food in our fridges would start being attacked by cockroaches and mice, which will now rule the world.
Additionally, many subway systems that pump water would begin to malfunction, therefore flooding the tunnels in a matter of 36 hours. In Alaska, the oil storage tanks would fill to the brim and later explode. The oil would start spilling, and gallons of oil would end up in the ocean.
4. Most household animals would be extinct.
Animals like small dogs and sheep would be the most vulnerable, and they’d be in deep danger. Even if they stay inside a building, they will eventually run out of food and be forced to get out and search for it. Bigger dogs, like German Shepherds, sheepdogs, and wild breeds, will be able to adjust in the wild and protect themselves.
Cats would also likely manage to adapt to their new way of living. However, they will have to toughen up a bit in order to survive. Dogs that have escaped from the dog tracks and dogfighting arenas won’t have any problem surviving. Their competitive and wild nature will help them dominate over the weaker breeds.
5. Many of the world’s monuments would be history.
Corrosion is one of the biggest enemies of all materials that have been used to build all our beautiful monuments. Only gold is immune to corrosion in the course of time. Today, air pollutants are the number one cause of corrosion and the reason why people have to keep maintaining and fixing their homes nowadays. But even if human activity suddenly stopped, this problem wouldn’t go away.
That’s because metals are being damaged simply by the presence of oxygen. This causes them to grow rust, something that will sooner or later result in their destruction. And without humans being around to take care of the problem, the destruction would be even greater.
6. Vegetation would have taken cities over.
If human activity ceased to exist, vines and ivy would only need about 5 years to occupy the exterior of buildings. For example, the Chinese village of Houtouwan was depopulated in 2002, and 2 decades later, nature has completely taken over. Many buildings have been completely covered by vines and ivy. So you can imagine how much worse the situation would get after an extra 980 years.
7. Many cities would be underwater.
The reason cities like Amsterdam are still in existence is all thanks to drainage systems, dams, and bridges. They all keep the ocean out of our cities and prevent catastrophes, such as floods and tsunamis. But if humans weren’t around to maintain these systems, the force of the water would destroy them. Massive amounts of water would enter our cities and what used to be our homes.
That being said, cities like New York City, Miami, and New Orleans would probably go underwater. Based on today’s data, these cities would all experience an extreme rise in water levels by 2070. But without any humans around, something like this could take way less time to happen.
8. Humans would have to fight to win back their cities.
Humans would once again need to fight for their survival since they would need to face wild animals. Their ability to cooperate and work in groups would be crucial to help them dominate over all the other creatures. They would still remember how to make friends with animals, like cats and dogs. The main difference between now and the beginning of time is that there are still remnants of their old cities.
They would already have all the technical knowledge to build everything back to how it was. However, they would have to get into a primitive mindset in order to hunt for food and beat other large wild animals. But, as was mentioned above, their ability to cooperate would help them in achieving that.
Would you take part in an experiment that required you to sleep in an underground bunker for 1,000 years?