Protect the Humans!

Weird kick of the month, I’ve watched two documentaries discussing life on the planet after people, we humans, are gone.  The reason as they say at the beginning of each documentary is not important, but what happens after we are no longer here to tend to our civilization?  By the way, can I call it a documentary if it is purely fictional and yet based in science?  Well for lack of a better word, the two “documentaries” were Aftermath: Population Zero and Life After People.  Both titles are available at CML if you are interested.

Confession: I am a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction.  I can’t say exactly why, but there’s something fascinating about the collapse of civilization and the struggle to maintain / rebuild that follows.  Perhaps because it’s Darwinian?  Adapters survive, those who can’t are eliminated.  Excellent (rubbing hands together with maniacal grin).  The chance to start again and do it better (unlikely) is a pleasing thought.  But I digress…

In the case of both documentaries, this is life on Planet Earth with no survivors.  So what happens to our buildings, our roads, and our proof of existence if you will?  Not pretty.  Turns out it doesn’t take that long for Mother Earth to erase all trace of us from the surface.  I won’t say how long because that would be a bit of a spoiler, but basically our existence would become some future E.B.E.s archaeological dig site at best. 

The imagery in both was incredibly well done.  Many a famous monument or bridge meets its doom with some very well done effects and solid science behind it as to why and when this would happen.  Overall the content of both was extremely similar with some topics being so close that I felt like someone ripped someone off.  But both are worth seeing since they do have differences here and there.  For instance, they disagree on what happens to our nuclear power plants when no one is there to tend to them.  And of course each covers some things the other does not.

Then there is the Chernobyl footage in the Life After People title.  This was fascinating since that particular site is of course not even remotely hypothesis.  We can actually see what our cities look like without human care for 20 years.  And interestingly enough we can actually see that a nuclear meltdown is not even remotely the threat that environmentalist would have us believe.  Sure it sucks for a while, but overall the planet heals quite nicely without us around.

Moral of the story: we don’t matter nearly even a fraction of what we think we do and it’s definitely not Planet Earth that needs protection from us.

Have a nice day!

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5 Responses to “Protect the Humans!”

  1. Check out the book, The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. There is a great chapter about New York City, and how it’s only a matter of weeks (theoretically) before it turns into a huge swampy wilderness without people. Also, our legacy will most likely be all the plastic Wal-Mart bags that are going to last forever in the ocean.

  2. Ditto about the book above. It probably goes more indepth than the movies (I have to check those out), but it does Nuclear plants, Chernobyl, gas refineries, African animals, and even space debris. It also looks at places left for dead in war torn areas and how they have been reclaimed.

    City of Ember by Duprau is a quick read (a children’s book) about people living underground after an apolcolyptic occurence. (A movie just came out, but I heard it is not very good.)

  3. Ran out of time, so I will add here. Two other good ones written by Susan Beth Pfeffer are “Life as We Knew it” and The Dead And the Gone” -both about the moon being knocked out of orbit, and causing an apocolypse. The latter one takes place in NYC, and is a bit more brutal than the former. Both found in the teen section.

  4. have you read “the road” by cormac mccarthy? totally awesome post-apocalyptic stuff. and people eat people in it!

  5. I actually did read “The Road” but I didn’t like the ending. I thought it was too happy.

    Reserved “The City of Ember” and started reading “The World Without Us.” Thanks for the tips!

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