In A Natural History of the Future, Rob Dunn uses evolutionary logic to predict what the coming years may look like.
Ecologists often discuss habitat loss. As expanding human populations commandeer more land, and as our activities disrupt our planet’s recent climate, many habitats are shrinking. Lifeforms that rely upon old growth forests, river estuaries, swamps, and ice sheets will struggle in the future.
As these habitats shrink, other habitats are growing. Human cities make pleasant homes for many types of birds, small mammals, and insects. Human bodies make pleasant homes for many viruses and bacteria. We have been building a world where mosquitoes and pandemics can thrive, easily sending emissaries across vast distances to exploit a vast, expanding resource: us.
Near the end of the text, Dunn speculates on what would unfold without us: a few enduring sewer rats, well-protected from the blasts, might give rise to the whole diversity of species who will inherit our convalescent world.