A few days back, I watched a programme, or least about 15 minutes of it, that speculates on what the Earth will look like once humans disappear. There is lots of stuff about how houses, roads, bridges, airports and sewage systems start to crumble, how rats and other animals take over. There are lots of photographs of wrecked cars with plants growing out of the windows. On one level, if you are into wildlife or the study of botany, some of this is pretty interesting. The programme is very slickly put together.
There are two ways to view this film. Perhaps it taps into a very powerful theme amongst what I might call the dark Greens – the idea of Homo Sapiens as a disease, almost a curse, on the “pure” Earth. While the narrator has a civilised tone of voice, it is hard not to miss a sort of gloating at the demise of humans and their artifacts.
On the other hand, it is quite useful to be reminded of what happens once the basic infrastructure of modern civilisation goes into decline, such as electrical power, clean water, mass transportation, and so on. Which is why it matters a great deal if we forgo important sources of power generation, for example, all because of coming to the wrong conclusions about supposed Man-made climate change, for example. So maybe one perhaps unintended consequence of this sort of film is to sharply remind us of what happens when we take our modern civilisation for granted and flirt with “going back to nature”.