We watched the History Channel special called Life After People. It’s supposed to be a realistic image of what the world would be like in the years and centuries after us if we all just disappeared one day.
And that’s where my first annoyance came from. It’s supposed to be based on science and fact, but they start with a completely unscientific scenario. Setting aside supernatural scenarios, the end of man would not come with a disappearance. Six and a half billion people do not just disappear. Yet the entire show was based on the premise.
So rather than having to deal with the effects of six billion corpses—say from a pandemic—on the ecosystem, creating food sources for pests who would then feed animals higher up the food chain, instead we’re told that rats and cockroaches and dogs would initially starve.
Then there was the whole anthropomorphication of nature and the treatment of humankind as a sort of parasite on Mother Earth whose loss would be a boon to “Gaia”. Give me a break. For a show with such a materialist outlook on the world, there was an awful lot of spiritualism and faith.
However, there were many good nuggets to be found in the hard sciences, which give us an appreciation for the fact that despite all our technological advancements, it will be the achievements of our ancestors that will outlast our own. When the last skyscraper is a moldering pile of iron oxide, the Great Pyramids of Egypt will still be standing. And when the biggest football stadium has been replaced by forest, the concrete works of the Romans will be a mute testament to their engineering. In fact, two artifacts of modernity that they suggest will remain for millennia are Mount Rushmore, carved as it is out solid granite in an ecologically stable environment with the only element of erosion being pellets of rain, and the Hoover Dam, which is so massive that 70 years after the last concrete was poured, some of the deepest bits of concrete were still curing.
And long after the last book is moldering dust and the last CD-ROM is useless plastic, the carved hieroglyphics and stone tablets and animal-hide scrolls of the Middle East will remain. Then again, if there’s no one left, do we really care what legacy of our civilization remains? Who will be around the appreciate it?
Of course, this is all bunk. This is not how the world will end and we will be around for a long tim—an eternity in fact. Because there is a God, a loving, personal Father who has gifted us with the possibility of eternal life, not in this world, but in the next and who has decreed that this world is finite and time-limited.