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Life After People [Blu-ray]
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If humans were suddenly to disappear, what would happen to our planet--the structures we've built, the everyday items we take for granted, animals domesticated and wild, plants, trees? What would become of the things that define our species and leave our mark on this Earth? Visit the ghostly villages surrounding Chernobyl (abandoned by humans after the 1986 nuclear disaster), travel to remote islands off the coast of Maine to search for abandoned towns that have vanished from view in only a few decades, then head beneath the streets of New York to see how subway tunnels may become watery canals. THE HISTORY CHANNEL takes you on an amazing visual journey in LIFE AFTER PEOPLE, a though-provoking adventure that combines movie-quality visual effects with insights from experts in the fields of engineering, botany, ecology, biology, geology, climatology, and archeology to demonstrate how the very landscape of our planet will change in our absence.
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Of especial note is that as our civilization advances, much of it is in digital form, and without power or the fragile, plastic media to store it on, it might appear to a future generation that our decline would appear earlier with the diminishing of printed books. Books might last longer than flash drives and computers, and certainly with a partial collapse, all the information stored on computers, without the support system to maintain them, will prove useless.
For their audience, they really minimized the catastrophic loss to pets that would happen. Animals in corrals, barns, or in homes would perish, except for a very few that would be able to break out and somehow escape. That includes nearly all animals in aquariums and zoos. It's a harsh reality, because we interact with a lot of animals, and many of them are dependent upon us for their food - whether domestic or in captivity. This might upset many viewers, and not something I felt comfortable with as a former pet owner. It's harsh, but it is the reality.
All that aside, though, while there would be many individual losses, many species would survive and flourish in the absence of humans. As the writers correctly point out, many specialty breeds would perish as being to geared to living with humans or working for humans to survive.
A humbling lesson to learn, too, that so many species on the edge of extinction would rebound if humans suddenly died and/or vanished.
The only other objection is the language used to describe nature as adversarial. The writers probably did this to "spice it up," because it's really talking about how long it would take for all of our building and roads and even cities to persist before crumbling into dust. Phrases like "nature goes on the attack" are ill-conceived. Life goes where it will, and both animals and plants will look for places to live and expand for their young. Nature is not our adversary, and the mistaken believe that we are outside the ecosystem has led to many of our current environmental crises. Nature is not disposable, its resources are not infinite, and nature was not put here solely for our benefit.
Those type of above discussions can spring from this, so possibly useful for a class on philosophy or even environmental science as well. Overall, I found it a slightly flawed but sobering speculation.
As far as the feature and subject matter - absolutely, utterly amazing.
Personal anecdote. When I was around 12 years old, I lived in a neighborhood located next to a large cotton field. One summer a road building crew came out and constructed a ¼ mile stretch of concrete road way off in the farthest reaches of the cotton field, for no apparent reason (it was advance work for a delayed urban expansion which did not to take place for another 15 years).
That stretch of brand new road, sitting out in the middle of the cotton field, decaying, grass and weeds growing up between the cracks, frogs, rabbits and other critters making it their home, just fascinated me. Sometimes, I would ride out to it on my bike and just sit, listen to the silence and the sounds of Nature as it slowly consumed the concrete, took back what It owned. Walking along the stretch of road, I would imagine I was the last person on Earth. That was the summer I read "Earth Abides" by George R. Stewart, a book that left a huge impression on me.
I've been a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction ever since.
UPDATE: Problem. On loading, the disc hang my Blu-Ray player about 50% of the time. Suspect defective mastering of the disc boot sector for the first batch of these discs (maybe why it reverted to "unavailable" status shortly after I bought it?). May have to exchange for a new disc. Otherwise, my comments above are unchanged.
I'm glad that the creators chose to just do away with people rather than spend a lot of time speculating on how we met our demise or even where our bodies disappeared to. (Maybe I still haven't gotten over the rotting bodies in "The Stand".) That wasn't the story I was interested in hearing when I purchased Life After People.
Life After People starts out promisingly enough and certainly manages to engage viewers emotionally by playing on our concern over the fate of house pets. And, for the most part, I found the entire show interesting. I particularly liked the visit to the abandoned town near Chernobyl.
Ultimately, though, I felt too much time was spent talking about corrosion and how human made structures would deteriorate and collapse. It seemed to get repetitive. I would have liked to have seen a lot more focus on plant, animal and insect life and how particular species might - or might not - adjust in their altered habitat. I also would have liked more focus on what part climate changes brought about by the absence of humans would play in flora and fauna behavioral changes, survival and evolution.
Still, I found this a good introduction to the subject and I particularly think it would appeal to younger viewers, spurring their curiosity. I hope I'll find more information on plants and animals, etc. - and a little less on corrosion - in some of the other materials I purchased.
Top international reviews
things would be if we were not here any more.
It's very eye opening !
If you ever wondered what the world (earth specifically) might look like without us around, this is a good start!