Thursday, June 25, 2009

Concrete Isn't Forever

Along with "War is Terrorism", one of the more annoying and ignorant and intellectually bankrupt displays of the bumper sticker mentality you'll see around is one that reads, "Concrete is Forever."

Even when I was knee-deep in the Green Party in the late 1980s, I knew this was inherently untrue. Granted my conclusion was anecdotally drawn after seeing what became of a backcountry concrete road in the Desolation Wilderness of the Sierras as it eroded over the course of a half-dozen plus years, but I knew the sticker represented environmental hyperbole.

Thankfully, there's been a fine series on the History Channel that reveals and shows just how right I was. It's called "Life After People"*, and it goes a long way toward debunking the hyperventilating environmentalists' view that mankind's effects on the environment are permanent and irreversible.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

LAP’s premise flows around the idea of what would happen to civilization and the creations of mankind should humans up and disappear all of sudden. Based on computer models, scientists' speculation and living laboratories of towns and cities around the globe that provide real-world examples of what happens after mankind has abandoned them, the show is utterly fascinating. (To me, anyway.)

It all begins within the first 24 hours, too. Power grids across the world systematically shut down or fail simply because no human was around to make sure the machines kept running.

Then Mother Nature really gets to work.

London and Amsterdam become flooded or half under water within 10 years. The Brooklyn Bridge? Sitting at the bottom of East River within 150 years. Atlanta, torn down slowly ripped apart and covered by kudzu. The entire cities of Houston and New Orleans returned to the swamps from which they were born. The Hoover Dam eroded by time and severely damaged by earthquakes, collapses and returns the Colorado River to its unrestrained and natural state. The Great Pyramids? Buried in great sand storms.

And on it goes.

In short, the Earth will swallow up mankind’s greatest structures and architectural achievements. Nothing will remain—at least nothing as we recognize it.

And it all happens in just 10,000 years.

Hey, so much for our dominance over the earth.

Considering that science estimates that Earth's should be around for another 4.5 billion years, 10,000 years is a blip on the cosmic clock.

Of course it hinges on us disappearing all of sudden, which isn’t very likely. But it can’t be ruled out either. There’s our propensity to destroy ourselves in war. Or the inevitable super virus that’s bound to make its way into our lives. Or, over earth’s history, the frequency with which meteors and comets strike our planet.

In the end, the show provides one more reason to marginalize environmental doomsayers and alarmists like Al Gore, NASA’s James Hansen and others who proclaim we must ‘save our environment’ or that we have ‘a planetary emergency’ and that we’re ‘destroying the earth.’ This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t take steps to preserve it and be stewards of our environment, we absolutely should.

But as LAP clearly demonstrates, no matter how far our technology has come or how advanced we think we are, nature will be the ultimate winner. For the earth has rebuilt and destroyed itself and the life on it (and been destroyed by outside forces) many times over—even without our help. And it will do so again when we perish from it.

*You can watch episodes on the web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment