Monday, January 28, 2008

Life After People???????


For some time I have been hearing that a few of the more extreme environmentalists feel that the earth would be much better off without people around to dirty it up. You know the ones. They constantly harp that it is we the people who cause all the problems. We cause green house gas which heats up the globe and promises to bring all life to an end. Our very presence threatens everything.

It is with this in mind that I tuned in The History Channel recently to watch their feature “Life After People”. I’ll admit I had prejudged what this was going to be. All of these things come with an agenda as did this one. It is just that the agenda was not what I thought it would be. If you didn’t see it, it basically dealt with the proposition that all human life ceased to exist at once. Then the story began with what would happen to the earth without people. It showed their opinion of what things would look like after twenty four hours all the way up to ten thousand years later. Their basic premise was that all things created by man from buildings to bridges to roads to monuments carry within them a built in seed of their own destruction. In other words everything man-made will rust, corrode, or other wise collapse under its own weight.

They opined that the only reason this isn’t happening now is human maintenance. We lubricate, re-pave, and paint to keep our creations sound. The Golden Gate Bridge, for example, is constantly being painted. The crew never gets finished. They just go from one end to the other and continue to paint.

They speculated as to what would last the longest. It turns out that would be Mt. Rushmore because it is carved in pure granite.

Their next conclusion was that animals and insects, fishes and birds would fare very well. Some, if not most, would fare better without humans. Dogs would revert to their wild state and kill for their food. Pet cats would live on rodents and birds. The oceans would cleanse themselves without dirty humans around to mess it up and fish life would explode. Zoo animals would roam the deteriorating streets in search of food. In this new world you would either be predator or prey. The wild animals would come in from the mountains and join the feast. Freeways would become animal trails.

As man’s creations deteriorated vegetation would take over and swallow up any trace of our ever having existed. All the world would be beautiful then. In ten thousand years no trace of our presence would be left. This would seem to be the ideal extremists seek……. But I have a question.

If there are no people left, who would care? Who would report on these facts? Who would the winner be then? What would he win? Where would these extremist whackos be? Do they suppose that they will somehow be granted some kind of pardon from human disappearance? Don’t they see this to be as silly as I do? Also why would anyone believe that animals would survive if all humans disappeared? Humans have been the most adaptable of all the animals and humans have come closer than any other critter to taming their environment.

At the close of this feature, they referred to our replacements. Without saying anything they showed chimpanzees cracking nuts with rocks implying they are just waiting in the wings to take over.

If the utopian ideal of environmentalists is a world without people where would they fit in that scenario? Just a question.

Ron Scarbro January 2008

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