What Will Be Left When We’re Gone?

Embrace Serendipity

Bones, Plastic, Radioactive Waste, and Lots of Garbage.

Robert Macfarlane goes underground to see how humans will be remembered.

This story was originally published by Grist

Millions of years from now, what will be left of us?

At the rate we’re going, nature might well have taken over. Moscow and Mumbai will be sand and gravel cast across the desert expanse; New York City and Amsterdam will be sediment on the ocean floor, softened by the unrelenting tides.


But beneath the Earth’s surface, preserved in bedrock, some of the structures that supported life aboveground might still be intact: subways, quarries, and sewage systems. To piece together the story of our species, a hypothetical archaeologist might have to hunt for clues underground, much as today we dig for fossils to learn about the past.

This is what’s on Robert Macfarlane’s mind before falling asleep in a chamber deep in…

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