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Suppose somehow everything animals and plants except human went extinct overnight, they simply vanished without trace no remains nothing. My story will touch on how our survival instinct turns us into cannibalism inevitably, all government will fall almost immediately as hunger and thirst set in.

Could there be any trace of modern civilization amid such crisis in the next decade?

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    $\begingroup$ This has already been covered by Randall Munroe what-if.xkcd.com/105 $\endgroup$ – Aron Apr 8 '16 at 9:29
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We'd either starve, die of malnutrition (cannibalism is a really bad idea for long-term health) or suffocate. I'm not sure of the order.

Starve/ Malnutrition

No animals to eat and no plants to eat leaves us with eating the now rapidly-diminishing supplies of food we have and then turning on each other for food. Cannibalism isn't great as a method of survival; human meat is apparently quite hard for us to digest and doesn't contain a great balance of vitamins and nutrients. Plus if you eat enough human liver you'll die of Hypervitaminosis due to the massive amounts of vitamin A our bodies store there.

Suffocation

The more real threat is lack of oxygen. We have a descent amount in the atmosphere (obviously) but without plants and plankton in the ocean to replenish it we'll die pretty soon. I'm not sure how long it would take us to breath all the good air, but I'm pretty sure it's not long.

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  • $\begingroup$ It would take thousands of years for all the oxygen in the atmosphere to be used up. It wouldn't be the limiting factor. $\endgroup$ – Mike Scott Jul 24 '16 at 16:16
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In your scenario, I doubt that you will find any trace of humans, in the next decade.

Also supposing that, at least, the reserve supplies don't vanish, there will be chaos and violence to grab what remains.

That alone will cause the collapse of the civilization, and humans will go extinct in the next couple of months (a year maybe, to be generous) by starvation.

Also turning cannibals will lengthens the agony by some months, since anyway you will not be able to breed humans as food reserve (to long gestation and too much resources needed).

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Have you heard of the Stung Series? Where almost everything dies out because of a 'bee flu'? Might be useful. Of course, in that case, you have normal humans and infected 'beast-like' humans, and not absolutely everything was wiped out... But the fundamentals might be the same. In the case where completely all other flora and fauna are gone, there may be other problems than simply cannibalism.

First, malnutrition and disease, because human meat, like other animal meat, contains mainly protein, and may not contain the minerals, vitamins and plant-based fibers needed for proper digestion, etc. You know how constipated you get if you don't eat enough fruits & veggies? Well, imagine that, multiplied by like a billion. Plus, the vitamins that help us from getting sick primarily come from plants. I don't know currently if there are any other sources of such fibers and vitamins for humans, but if we have to resort to eating each other, then we'll have widespread bowel problems and most of us would be unable to repel even simple illnesses.

Second, 'animalisation' of the weaker/less fortunate humans. Cockfighting and Dog Fighting are examples of how humans currently use animals to satisfy their violent urges. If animals were to be taken from us, it is likely that the weaker/less fortunate humans would end up in rings, forced to fight against one another, like the old gladiator times.

Third, unbalanced populations. Most females have monthly visitors that are excruiciating and debilitating. Another side to this is that women lose vitamins, and other essential nutrients much faster than men, simply because they lose blood every month. It is a contributing factor to why women get arthritis more than men in old age: because they keep losing nutrients like calcium every month. Thus, women would fall sick and die more than men in this dystopia, causing population problems. Women become a valuable resource: almost like an extinct species, and you'd have more cases of women being kept simply for sex. Not to mention procreation problems.

Fourth, environment and climate changes, and in the extreme, complete suffocation of the earth. Plants are Earth's lungs. Without them, we'd soon run out of oxygen. I suppose humans could be kept in giant sealed cities, where oxygen can be produced in limited quantities using chemical reactions. But then that means everything outside those cities would be completely inhabitable.

The list goes on...

Another probable case study could be Snowpiercer, where practically everything outside of a controlled environment is dead, and people in the lower orders do turn to cannibalism when desperate. Governance is definitely a problem, where the heros of the story rebel against the authorities. No need to wait for a decline of power.

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It would be almost a guarantee that we would all die before the decade is out. Granted there are a bit of supplies for food stored away, and smaller communities might be able to make it a few months to a year on these supplies. But eventually we'd only have each other to sustain us. Once all the vitamin rich foods are gone, it only takes a few more months before we start getting scurvy, and other health issues. Scurvy starts to show up 60-90 days after vitamin C deficiency. And it just keeps progressing to the point you look like a zombie with open sores, missing teeth, rotting breath, and sore joints making you shuffle along.

Maybe that is how the zombie apocalypse happens, Vitamin C deficient cannibals...

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The closest scenario in Science Fiction is "Half Past Human" by T.J Bass. There human overpopulation has driven virtually every other creature to extinction, and farms have displaced most of the "wild" plants as well.

As you might expect, humans in that time have converted to cannibalism to get their proteins (although dead humans are processed "off stage" and living people buy protein crackers from vending machines), and in general, the massively overcrowded trillion "humans" of that time are evolving into something else to cope with a very limited set of dietary choices.

By exacting the plant side of the ecosystem, you have essentially killed everyone off through complete lack of carbohydrates in their diet, and longer term, the elimination of oxygen from the atmosphere as it is chemically bound to rocks, exposed metals and other inorganic substances. Most people have posted that humans might last a decade, and that seems to be a good upper boundary. Given the destruction of the food chain, after all the canned and dried foods have been consumed I doubt people will last very long at all on a cannibal diet, especially if they are trying to eat malnourished people as their prey (if they even can eat them, scurvy will ensure most people lose their teeth quickly).

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  • $\begingroup$ "Protein Crackers is people!" $\endgroup$ – TheBloodyPoet Jul 28 '16 at 1:12

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