Humans; the new evolutionary pest of this world

I have this self-awareness about the human encroachment over the earth surface. Look at an image of the earth one showing city lights, as in the image below from NASA. Is there any space left? Where to next, the Moon, Mars some distant planet. I don’t think so. Not many politicians and non-scientists realize it, but we are in serious trouble. The earth cannot sustain our immense appetite for energy.

Credit: Data courtesy Marc Imhoff of NASA GSFC and Christopher Elvidge of NOAA NGDC. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC.

I don’t have to delve into the limited non-sustainable resources, except one, oil.  The number of products derived from oil is astonishing. Have a look at A partial list of products made from Petroleum. This list shows only 144 out of 6000 products, but there are a couple that could make you worry if they weren’t there anymore. Only 46% of a barrel of oil is used for fuel, the rest is converted to products we use every day.  The few that come to my mind are solvents, vitamin capsules, anaesthetics, cortisone, antiseptics, fertilisers, grease and synthetic rubber.  You might convert electrical power, but grease is important for transportation, machinery used for production and so many more things where friction must be reduced. The public does not know how much oil there is, but oil is not just oil, there are different grades and you cannot do anything with all grades. 

I read the book by Clive Finlayson, ‘The humans who went extinct; why Neanderthals died out and we survived.’. It is incredible to read how our ancestors lived and had to struggle for survival. They were slaves to the environment. If the environment changed and there were no tools or some technology to adapt or protect them, they went extinct. That’s it. It was very harsh living in those days. Maybe those early harsh conditions are closer than we think. If you don’t know how much energy there is left to sustain our current living conditions, you don’t know how long humans can live like we do. If you don’t have the facts or information, you cannot make a prediction.

If you don’t know how much energy there is left to sustain our current living conditions, you don’t know how long we can live like we currently do. If you don’t have the facts or information you cannot make a prediction.


So the question is, who will survive. Will you? Do you have the tools in your garage or basement to live and raise children and teach them how to survive. Have you stored enough tin food for all eternity to come? I don’t think you have any idea who will survive, but according to Mr Finlayson it will not be you or me or anyone capable of reading this blog. The people that will survive are the ones that most Westerners look down on. Those that are suffering today. The under fed, poor, living in tough conditions. Much like in underdeveloped Africa, China, India, South America and the Middle East.  All those that are not dependent on non-sustainable energy, food and lifestyles.

The future is in our hands. We humans are not so great as Clive Finlayson put it in his book: “… not as evolutionary superstars but as pests that invaded every nook and cranny that became available”. The bit of army field work you did will not help you, neither a crash course in survival or worse, watching survival on TV. Our species Homo Sapiens will not survive because we ignore the climate and earth’s resources, and it will come back to us with a vengeance. Climate might change slowly in terms of our lifetime, but the boundaries for survival will get smaller and smaller until we are no more. I wonder what animal will then be king and how will they handle the future. Evolution will always go on.

We are not an old species on this earth. If the earth’s age was a one year, we humans are as old as the last one second in that year. One more second and we are all wiped out. If aliens were to land on earth a minute later, they would not even notice that we were here. That is how insignificant we are.

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