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1,000 years after Humans

August 29, 2008

Domestic dogs turn wolflike. Cats glide like flying foxes. Chimps experience a sudden spike in brainpower like we did and take our place as the new masters of the planet.

This program on the History Channel is a breathtaking thesis of what could happen 1,000 years after we vanish, killed by our own weapons, natural causes or left the planet in search of less toxic worlds. The scenarios are modeled after Chernobyl, the nuclear accident that caused a whole Russian city to be evacuated. 20 years later, they came back to check on the ghost town. Instead of a desolate wasteland, they found a vibrant enclave full of greenery and wildlife. Looks like nature’s more resilient than we give it credit for.

So applying these lessons, they theorized what could happen a thousand years after humans disappeared. Our concrete cities will have collapsed into massive heaps of dirt to form the new hills of tomorrow. Everything will be covered under tens of feet of topsoil. Forest will cover where Broadway, Times Square and Central Park NYC stand today. A tiger here, a rhino there – descendents of escapees from the Bronx zoo.

They predict green forests, clear rivers, blue skies, birds singing. Not bad. A far cry than the dark industrial Matrix or Terminator-style wasteland that people think is in store for the planet.

I enjoyed it immensely. I’d give it 4.8 out of 5.

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