So there I was cruising the channels of my newly installed cable television when I caught the tail end of a teaser on the History Channel that was called “Life After People”. At first I figured “What the fuck?” I mean who cares what would happen after People Magazine finally closed up shop. Have we as a society become so shallow that the demise of a tabloid now warrants an hour each week on the goddamn History Channel? I’ll take politics or inventions or civic lessons anytime. I mean, what the hell, if People didn’t exist anymore there must be a thousand other glossy magazines that are standing in line to take its place. It seems the world can’t get enough gossip about who’s sleeping with who.
As it turns out, I got the premise all wrong. Life After People is actually all about what would happen here on planet Earth should all if it’s homo sapien inhabitants suddenly disappear. No warnings, no cataclysmic explosions, just “poof”. I’m guessing it would be like if whatever Supreme Being you choose to believe in suddenly called “game on” for The Rapture and all that was left was other forms of life such as Fido or Snowball were left to contend on their own.
The segments are broken down in to specific time periods and granted, there must a been of great deal of speculation about how the Earth will reclaim it’s own but all in all it is kind of interesting.
Day One strong>
All is quiet on the western front and for that matter, across all fronts except for the sounds of nature and the dull whir of the few energy combines that have enough power left to go on for a couple of days. Maybe there’s a few clocks left ticking but they soon will came to a halt. Planes are grounded; cars and trains have come to a stop in their tracks and eerie silence blankets our largest towns and cities. The Earth has in effect become a ghost town.
Day Two strong>
Any other power sources begin to shut down and domesticated animals start to wonder where their food is going to come from. If they were trapped indoors, they begin to comb through closets and pantries looking for a decent meal.
Day Ten strong>
The stench of rotting food in refrigerators and supermarkets becomes overpowering. Meats, milks, cheeses and other perishable foods are no longer fit for consumption. Pets that were trapped indoors are now looking for a way out and vermin such as rats and mice are free to dine as they please. Insects such as cockroaches are no longer forced to forage in darkness and wander freely through the abandoned homes. Animals that were confined to zoos also try to make a break for it and begin to wander the countryside in search of something akin to their natural habitat.
6 Months to One Year strong>
no longer a threat, larger animals that once called the forests and jungles their homes now enter the abandoned cities in search of easier prey. Their quarry are the Fido
’s and Snowball
’s that I mentioned earlier since they long ago lost use of their natural defense mechanisms and they become easy pickings. No too long afterwards, larger predators also begin hunting and foraging on these new animal population centers.
One to Five Years strong>
Left unchecked, plants begin to take hold make their mark. The once manicured lawns and fairways are almost unrecognizable. Botanical gardens, once tended to by humans to are free to grow as they please. Buildings are consumed by the unchecked growth and their foundations begin to slowly crumble. Swimming pools have become stagnant and are now a breeding ground for all types of insects and infectious disease. Fires rage unchecked and engulf many cities and country sides.
Five to Twenty Years strong>
Most roads are now indistinguishable from the landscape and depending on their location are covered by plant life or buried beneath ever thickening layers of snow. Left unattended many buildings begin to collapse under their own weight. They too are soon swallowed up and their rubble becomes anchors and hideouts for the scavengers.
Twenty Five to Forty Years strong>
Dikes begin to crack and flooding in low lying area’s becomes commonplace. Wooden structures that haven’t become a food source for termites are being reclaimed by moss and mold and soon collapse.
Forty to One Hundred Years
bridges begin to rust
and eventually fall under their own weight. Modes of transportation such as cars, trains and planes turn into rusted out husks, a literal shell of their former selves. The information we humans once thought so vital and stored on hard drives and cd’s and paper
is virtually gone. Ironically, the information once carved onto stone by our ancestor’s remains intact.
One Hundred to Two Hundred Years
In the first half of this time period, any building that were still left standing have become a sort of safe haven for both animals and plant life. They inhabit them to protect themselves from the elements. With no commercial fishing to contend with both prey and predator are returned to their natural symbiosis and reach a happy medium. In the second half most buildings that remain standing are now so fragile that they might be toppled by a gust of wind.
Two Hundred to One Thousand Years
During this time, nature has reclaimed almost everything that was once hers. Any man made structures are long gone but certain carvings will remain. Much like the efforts of Michelangelo and other famous sculptors, modern works carved out of stone such as marble and granite will survive. Unfortunately, nobody is left be inspired by their beauty.
One Thousand Years +++
The sun still rises and sets just like it did when mankind wandered the Earth and left his fleeting mark on it. The wind, rain and snow take no notice of our disappearance. The elements we once carved out of the land for our survival couldn’t care less about our existence or lack thereof. Mountains rise and fall, volcanoes continue to erupt and what we humans once called chaos now seems so orderly.
I remember when I first started lurking around here at E2 some eight or so years ago. At first, I was a timid noder, afraid to type anything in the catbox for fear of upsetting the balance of things. I do remember one quote or sentiment that a wise noder once expressed that has stuck with me to this very day. I’ll paraphrase but I think it went something like this.
”Nature has laws? In my experience, it has only appetites.”
So true, so true.