WHAT WE’VE DONE WHEN OUR CITIES HAVE BLOWN UP
Roughly 74,000 years
ago an enormous volcano near Sumatra erupted with a force a thousand times that of the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens. 1
The ash that filled the sky blocked the sun’s rays and is believed to have sharply lowered global temperatures. Granted, we didn’t live in cities 74,000 years ago, but the drop in temperature—estimated to be 3 degrees Celsius—caused countless human deaths.2
Just a few thousand families survived. Since then we have clearly made quite a comeback. In fact, the disaster may account for our species’ success. Neurophysiologist William Calvin argues that modern human cognition, including sophisticated language and the capacity to plan ahead, springs from this ...