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  • Imagine aliens land on the planet a million years from now

    譯者: Ting-Yen Tsai 審譯者: Helen Chang

  • and look into the geologic record.

    「人類誇大一切:英雄、敵人、 重要性。」—查理·布考斯基

  • What will these curious searchers find of us?

    想像外星人在一百萬年後登陸地球

  • They will find what geologists, scientists, and other experts

    並仔細觀察地球的地質紀錄

  • are increasingly calling the Anthropocene,

    這些好奇的探詢者會 找到關於我們的什麼呢?

  • or new age of mankind.

    他們會找到地質學家、科學家

  • The impacts that we humans make have become so pervasive,

    和其他專家日益稱呼的「人類世」

  • profound,

    或是「人類的新世紀」

  • and permanent

    我們人類所造成的影響 是那麼無所不在

  • that some geologists argue we merit our own epoch.

    深遠

  • That would be a new unit in the geologic time scale

    而且永久

  • that stretches back more than 4.5 billion years,

    讓有些地質學家認為 我們創造了自己的「世」

  • or ever since the Earth took shape.

    這會是個地質時代表上的新單位

  • Modern humans may be on par with the glaciers behind various ice ages

    可以回溯到超過四十五億年前

  • or the asteroid that doomed most of the dinosaurs.

    或說從地球成形以來

  • What is an epoch?

    現代人可能和各種冰河時期的冰川

  • Most simply, it's a unit of geologic time.

    或造成恐龍滅絕的小行星同等重要

  • There's the Pleistocene,

    到底什麼是「世」呢?

  • an icy epoch that saw the evolution of modern humans.

    簡單來說,它是地質年代的一個單位

  • Or there's the Eocene, more than 34 million years ago,

    有「更新世」

  • a hothouse time during which

    是個現代人類進化的冰冷時代

  • the continents drifted into their present configuration.

    也有超過三千四百萬年前的「始新世」

  • Changes in climate or fossils found in the rock record

    一個較溫暖、溫室效應較強的時期

  • help distinguish these epochs and help geologists tell deep time.

    也是各大陸漂移到現今位置的時期

  • So what will be the record of modern people's impact on the planet?

    岩石記錄中發現的氣候或化石變化

  • It doesn't rely on the things that may seem most obvious to us today,

    有助於區分這些「世」 也幫助地質學家瞭解過去發生的事

  • like sprawling cities.

    所以什麼會成為現代人 對地球影響的紀錄呢?

  • Even New York or Shanghai may prove hard to find

    這不一定是現在看起來最明顯的事物

  • buried in the rocks a million years from now.

    像是不斷向外擴展的城市

  • But humans have put new things into the world

    就算是紐約或是上海也可能很難

  • that never existed on Earth before,

    在一百萬年後從石堆中被發掘

  • like plutonium

    但是人類創造了從來沒有

  • and plastics.

    在地球上存在過的新東西

  • In fact, the geologists known as stratigraphers

    像是鈽和塑膠

  • who determine the geologic timescale,

    事實上,地層學家

  • have proposed a start date for the Anthropocene around 1950.

    也就是決定地質年代的地質學家

  • That's when people started blowing up nuclear bombs all around the world

    已經提出「人類世」 約從西元 1950 年開始的說法

  • and scattering novel elements to the winds.

    那就是人類開始在全世界試爆核彈

  • Those elements will last in the rock record,

    並且讓新元素四處擴散在空氣中

  • even in our bones and teeth for millions of years.

    這些元素會被保存在岩石地層中

  • And in just 50 years, we've made enough plastic,

    甚至保存在我們的骨頭 和牙齒中數百萬年之久

  • at least 8 billion metric tons,

    而且我們在短短五十年 就已經製造出極大量的塑膠

  • to cover the whole world in a thin film.

    至少八十億噸

  • People's farming, fishing, and forestry will also show up as a before and after

    讓全世界被一層薄膜給包覆住

  • in any such strata

    人們的農耕、捕魚以及伐木活動

  • because it's those kinds of activities

    也將在這地層中留下不可磨滅的痕跡

  • that are causing unique species of plants and animals to die out.

    因為這些活動

  • This die-off started perhaps more than 40,000 years ago

    造成許多獨特的動植物走向滅絕

  • as humanity spread out of Africa

    這場大滅絕或許在四萬年前

  • and reached places like Australia,

    人類從非洲向外遷徙時就已經開始了

  • kicking off the disappearance of big, likable, and edible animals.

    人類遷徙到澳洲等地

  • This is true of Europe and Asia, think woolly mammoth,

    導致許多大型、可愛 可食用的動物消失了

  • as well as North and South America, too.

    曾生活在歐洲和亞洲的 猛瑪象就是如此

  • For a species that has only roamed

    我們也在北美洲和南美洲 造成這種情況

  • the planet for a few hundred thousand years,

    人類這數十萬年來

  • Homo sapiens has had a big impact on the future fossil record.

    唯一可以在全球漫遊的物種

  • That also means that even if people were to disappear tomorrow,

    已經對於未來的化石紀錄 造成極大的影響

  • evolution would be driven by our choices to date.

    這也代表就算人類明天就全部消失

  • We're making a new homogenous world of certain favored plants and animals,

    我們截至目前為止所做的選擇 也會決定了演化的方向

  • like corn and rats.

    我們正創造一個新的同質世界 由我們偏愛的動植物所組成

  • But it's a world that's not as resilient as the one it replaces.

    像是玉米和老鼠

  • As the fossil record shows,

    但這個新世界沒有像過去那一個 擁有那麼強的適應力或彈性

  • it's a diversity of plants and animals

    如同化石紀錄所顯示的

  • that allows unique pairings of flora and fauna

    是動植物的多樣性

  • to respond to environmental challenges, and even thrive after an apocalypse.

    使得獨特的動植物群

  • That goes for people, too.

    可以面對環境的挑戰 甚至在末日劫難後重新茁壯、繁衍

  • If the microscopic plants of the ocean suffer

    對人類來說也是同樣的道理

  • as a result of too much carbon dioxide, say,

    如果海洋裡的微小植物

  • we'll lose the source of as much as half of the oxygen we need to breathe.

    因為過多的二氧化碳而無法生存

  • Then there's the smudge in future rocks.

    我們將會失去一半可供呼吸的氧氣

  • People's penchant for burning coal, oil, and natural gas

    再來是對未來岩層的污染

  • has spread tiny bits of soot all over the planet.

    人類對於燃煤、石油和天然氣的偏好

  • That smudge corresponds with a meteoric rise

    已向全世界散播無數微小的煤灰粒子

  • in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air,

    這汙染和空氣中二氧化碳濃度的 急速上升有相同的惡化趨勢

  • now beyond 400 parts per million,

    現在懸浮微粒濃度已超過 400ppm

  • or higher than any other Homo sapiens has ever breathed.

    或者說比任何其他時代的人類 所呼吸的還要髒

  • Similar soot can still be found in ancient rocks

    相似的微粒仍可以在六千六百萬年前

  • from volcanic fires of 66 million years ago,

    火山噴發時代的古代岩層中找到

  • a record of the cataclysm touched off by an asteroid

    那是一場大劫難的印記:

  • at the end of the late Cretaceous epoch.

    一顆小行星的撞擊結束了「白堊紀」

  • So odds are our soot will still be here 66 million years from now,

    所以很可能我們製造的微粒 在六千六百萬年後依然存在

  • easy enough to find for any aliens who care to look.

    讓任何好奇的外星人都可以輕易發現

  • Of course, there's an important difference between us and an asteroid.

    當然,我們和小行星有個重要差別

  • A space rock has no choice but to follow gravity.

    太空隕石只能順從重力的牽引

  • We can choose to do differently.

    但我們可以選擇做出改變

  • And if we do, there might still be some kind of human civilization thousands

    如果我們改變,距離現在 幾千年、甚至數百萬年後

  • or even millions of years from now.

    或許人類文明還存在著

  • Not a bad record to hope for.

    這並不是一個壞結果

Imagine aliens land on the planet a million years from now

譯者: Ting-Yen Tsai 審譯者: Helen Chang

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B2 中高級 中文 TED-Ed 人類 地球 小行星 微粒 化石

人類的影響會持續多久?- David Biello (How long will human impacts last? - David Biello)

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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