Sobering Video Shows What the World Would Look Like if Humans Suddenly Vanished

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 - 11:29AM
Dystopias
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 - 11:29AM
Sobering Video Shows What the World Would Look Like if Humans Suddenly Vanished
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Pixabay composite
The final paragraph of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Road, which imagines the world after a nuclear holocaust, is an epitaph for Earth; an elegy for a planetary home that no longer really exists. It reads:


"Once there were brook trouts in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."


In the midst of debates about the effects of climate change on the planet and speculation as to the worst case consequences of humanity's unchecked lust for fossil fuels and the riches they engender, there remains a somewhat baseless optimism about the future: that we will, thanks to technological advances, somehow survive making the planet inhabitable for our species. Some predict new migratory patterns, perhaps even reaching heavenwards to other planets. Others suggest that a reversal of these trends might be possible, even as the seas warm and rise, not to be cooled by either denial or gadgetry. 


Those who are less optimistic predict a dire future, perhaps even one resembling McCarthy's wasteland. If our cultural consumption is any indicator of our collective unconscious, then the popularity of shows like The Walking Dead and movies like The Avengers: Infinity War suggest an existential anxiety just as profound as the one that gave birth to the science-fiction films of the Cold War era where alien attacks stood as proxies for the threat of nuclear annihilation at the hands of either an enemy or worse, ourselves. Even in these chronicles of despair, however, the continuance of human life – even if it is in the form of a handful of survivors destined to Biblically repopulate the Earth – is taken as a given. 


The reality is quite different. There is nothing that assures our continued existence. Humans could very well go extinct, leaving the Earth to other caretakers. It's not a pleasant thought, no matter how many people blithely suggest it in comments as a panacea to the world's problems, but it is something worth considering; worth meditating on. 


A surprisingly well-done video by YouTube channel Top 5s examines what exactly that world would look like. Much hinges on the existence of humanity: our sudden disappearance would trigger a variety of calamities before a new era could full set in. In the wake of those, it's impossible to gauge or predict every possibility, but the video does a good job of illustrating the bigger ones. Take a look. 

Science
Earth
Dystopias