Thursday, January 17, 2008

Earth: Population 0

The History Channel has an interesting program coming up on Monday (Jan. 21), about life on earth when there aren’t any people around.

Could happen, I guess. I don’t know how, but it’s an interesting premise. What happens to our infrastructure when we aren’t around to maintain it? How long before our roads disappear under grass, weeds, bushes and, eventually, trees? What about our towers? I’ve heard the Empire State Building could last for 500 years, with proper maintenance, but suppose there is none? Would it stay up for a couple hundred and then be devoured by the vines?

A long time ago, I read that the Firth of Forth Bridge has a crew dedicated to simply painting it. When the workers are finished at one end, it’s time to start over at the other. They have to keep ahead of the weather’s effects, the rust and the constant wear. Without such maintenance, even this mighty bridge would eventually collapse into the water.

So, there aren’t any people left on earth but, somehow, there are animals and other living things with feet. How they survived hasn’t yet been explained, but I’m sure we’ll find out on Monday. Anyway, that’s not the main point of the show; it’s what happens when we aren’t around and nature takes over.

As it eventually, and most certainly, will. As with the vast majority of species of the past, now long gone, we are probably just temporary inhabitants of this planet.


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