Is it just me or are there a ton more articles about our imminent demise lately?
It could be an organized campaign to keep us clicking on these and related links, but I can’t help but I think that there may be something to it.
Earth ‘entering new extinction phase’ – US study (Regarding the unfolding Sixth Mass Extinction.)
Big Five mass extinction events (In case you were wondering what the first five were all about.)
Okay, so we’re done. It’s been a hell of a ride, but what happens on our way out? Unlike the dinosaurs, we’re not expected to die off right away. What does our slow death as a species look like?
The History Channel made a documentary called Life After People (followed by a series with the same title). The original documentary is embedded below, but the timeline of the collapse of our bridges, buildings and achievements is pretty clear. Between one and three hundred years, most of our steel and concrete icons are gone. After 1000 years without consistent and organized upkeep, there would be very little evidence that we existed.
That’s the thing about this. The structural decay and neglect described in the documentary would happen even if mankind wasn’t totally wiped out. The rapid loss of 85% of our population due to hunger and mass murder would destabilize governments and throw us into anarchy. I doubt that people would be concerned with maintaining bridges and buildings while they are foraging for food and picking each other’s bones clean.
0-300 Years After Our Fall
A REVOLUTION/MAD MAX/THE WALKING DEAD/DIVERGENT/HUNGER GAMES style world will happen pretty quickly. Nations will break up into territories. Roving bands of survivors will scrape along, dying off one by one. Psychopaths and their cults have a grand old time hoarding resources and killing everyone they come across. But our buildings are still there. People tell stories of our culture and our history.
10,000+ Years After Our Fall
As terrible as it would be, think of life as it is shown in GAME OF THRONES as our best case scenario.
Ignore the magic and dragons and White Walkers for a minute and follow me on this. (Those could all be remnants of whatever scientific advances in genetics and self-replicating nanotechnology we make between now and our fall anyway.)
All structures and physical markers of the past are gone and a new “ancient” history is being recorded. Whichever bands of humans survive create fiefdoms and monetary systems. War is everywhere, which is a sure sign that we’re not done killing ourselves yet.
Most importantly, the GAME OF THRONES world features a global climate that is in a constant state of change. As a point of reference, this environment that we live in currently is different in air composition and seasonal makeup than the environment the dinosaurs thrived in 100 million years ago. Perhaps whatever environmental shifts that nearly wipe us out in the Sixth Mass Extinction are still in the process of changing 10,000 years from now.
We live on. I’m just glad that I won’t live long enough to witness any of it. Good luck.