• Question: when will humans die out

    Asked by hamzashah to Suzanne, Renata, Claire on 27 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Claire El Mouden

      Claire El Mouden answered on 27 Jun 2013:

      Hopefully not for a very very long time! We are certainly the biggest threat to our own survival – pollution, climate change, nuclear weapons – it’s possible they could destroy large parts of the earth, but I think at least a few of us would survive.

      The sun will destroy the earth in a few billions years when it runs out of energy.

      I would not worry too much though – I think we’re going to be around for a lot longer than we have been already!

    • Photo: Renata Medeiros

      Renata Medeiros answered on 27 Jun 2013:

      What a great question! Nobody really knows when (or if) humans will die out, but we certainly should not assume that the human species will survive forever. As I’m sure you know, humans are currently changing the planet in various ways, including…
      – destroying or polluting habitats
      – changing the climate
      – introducing non-native species (e.g. rats) to new places, where they can badly disrupt ecosystems
      Some of these changes are already causing other species to become extinct, and some may even place humans at risk of extinction in the long term. Climate change is causing big changes to the planet that will increasingly affect people, e.g. through droughts, floods, affecting the growth of crops, and maybe even in ways that we might not have thought of yet. We still have time to change our behaviour to prevent the worst of these climate changes, but time is running out! Your generation has the opportunity to change of the course of human history, and the future of the planet depends on all of us working together to make the world a good world for future generations to live in. It is my hope that the human species will survive for a very long time yet, and that we can learn to share our planet with the amazing diversity of life that we have inherited!

    • Photo: Suzanne Harvey

      Suzanne Harvey answered on 28 Jun 2013:

      Naturally, we should survive for a very long time. All environments have what’s known as a ‘carrying capacity’, and the earth will become not be able to sustain any more humans at some point! This is a very long way in the future though, and with the technology we have, we may be able to change this in ways other populations can’t.

      At the moment, we are more at risk from our own human interventions than natural extinction – nuclear and chemical warfare could easily have huge impact on the human population. Let’s hope we’re around for a very long time 🙂