Imagine that every human footstep since Gen 1 left an indelible, visible footprint, like walking in half an inch of fresh snow. Then we would be able to see the places on the earth where man has never stepped, for surely there are places. Only a few (linear) trails have reached the summit of Everest; the vast majority of square feet on its slopes have never been trod. Across the expanses of the great deserts (Sahara, Gobi, Mojave) people have criss-crossed, but certainly they have never managed to trample every square inch (and I’m not talking about individual nomadic grains of sand, but permanent, GPS-registered areas of earth surface). Or how about the jungles of South America, or Africa, or the forests of Alaska, or the frozen emptiness of Antartica. Or how about the naked, boulder-strewn wilderness around the teeming metropolis of San Diego? Obviously, a number of native tribes (e.g. the Kumeyaay) inhabited this region thousands of years ago, but they were not densely populated enough to step on everything.
What percentage of Earth’s dry surface has been walked on? How many fresh steps occur nowadays? Have I (you?) ever made a fresh step? How far away from me right now is the closest fresh step opportunity?
Filed under: Unmeasurable |