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Published on January 18th, 2008 | by Erich Becker

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Life After People

The History Channel presents and interesting question: what would happen to the planet if people suddenly disappeared, for good? Every last one of the 6.6 billion people on the planet Earth were suddenly gone, how would nature, both flora and fauna, reclaim the lands which used to be their domain?

First of all, the amount of disbelief needed to imagine this is pretty hefty, not to mention even a catastrophic event in the world would have a hard time eradicating each and every last human being on the globe. Still, with fleeting thoughts of impossibility stowed away, it becomes a matter of awe as the destructive forces of plants, animals, and weather decimate what we hold to be a proud civilization full of technological marvels and engineering feats.

 

The fine cut released to the media lacked some of the special effects work and still used temporary footage in places, so its impossible to really gauge the quality of the CGI work being used at this time, but the thought provoking and factually based segments, as we go from 1 day without humans to 10,000 years, really do make the program an interesting viewing experience.

The facts are based on simple science and study of plant life and events like the repopulation of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, but the biggest indicator is the town of Prypiat, Ukraine which was abandoned in 1986 following the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Scientists have seen nature begin to take back the land with trees growing on and in buildings, animal population returning at higher levels than before the disaster, and various other factors which allow them to gauge estimates on just how long before all remnants of modern civilization disappear.

The program itself follows the logical chronological order of decay of everything from buildings, bridges, to entire cities. The editing is a little rough, and the use of a strange “static” noise and disappearing humans superimposed over background footage (as a not to them being gone) is particularly annoying for two hours. A lot of the focus is on the United States and our landmarks, including a whole ten minutes devoted to the Hoover Dam, while only touching on the burning of Rome and the falling of the Eifel Tower in Paris.

 

However, the questionable editing doesn’t diminish from the awe inspiring scenery and revelations that without human intervention, things we take for granted like the Golden Gate Bridge wouldn’t exist for more than a few years after we were gone as our constant maintenance is the only thing between a cold abyss for one of our nation’s most recognizable engineering marvels.

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About the Author

Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!



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