Last night the two-hour post apocalyptic documentary Life After People aired on The History Channel, and it was awesome. As astrophysicist and author David Brin puts it in the film, "We're the first generation that could, by deliberate actions, cause its own doom." Find out what the Earth would do once we vacate, and check out some clips.
The special asks what would happen to the planet once humans are gone, and manages to answer in a way that's both informative and visually compelling, blending interviews with experts, CGI animation, and haunting shots of already-human-free locations like Chernobyl.
The show opens with humankind having already vanished from the planet, and we have no idea where everyone went. Sadly, we've left behind all of our domesticated pets, and there are several scenes of an abandoned puppy wondering where everyone has gone to tug at our heartstrings. However, one of the experts tells us that the cute and tiny breeds of dogs will die off very quickly, and that packs of large feral dogs will roam as scavengers. Sorry about that, you Yorkie owners out there.
Another fascinating element of Life After People is a segment about how buildings would break down without the presence of humans. You wouldn't think that skyscrapers rely on humans to keep them together, but once the power goes out, that turns off the climate controls. That would cause the metal window frames to expand with heat, then fuse shut. And then it's just a matter of time until the glass breaks from its frame. Without windows, air pressure changes within the entire structure, and it becomes a lightning attractor. One strike, and you've got The Towering Inferno, sans OJ Simpson.
We also learn how quickly power sources would die out over the years, with the longest continual power most likely coming from Hoover Dam. Of course, it too would be doomed once mollusks choke the coolant pipes and the generators auto-shutdown. That means no more lights or the steady bleep-bloop of slot machines trying to attract your attention in Vegas.
The special starts from Day One without people, and goes all the way to 10,000 years later. So, who ends up coming out on top when we leave the planet? The cockroaches, of course. Oh, and Mount Rushmore, which experts think may still be standing after 100,000 years. Zoinks. Life After People will be shown several more times on The History Channel over the next few weeks. Catch it if you're still around.