** Fires, Falling Buildings and No One to Clean Up
**The first question you may ask about “Life After People,” a two-hour documentary being shown on Monday night on the History Channel, is what connection, if any, it has to Alan Weisman’s popular book “The World Without Us,” which reached No. 6 on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list last year.
The film and the book propose the same situation — a planet from which humans have suddenly disappeared — and go down some of the same paths in tracing the consequences: flooding subway tunnels, corroding bridges, burning skyscrapers, cities disappearing beneath blankets of vegetation. They also share a blithe disregard for the question of how, exactly, the removal of the human race would take place and, assuming it was not through divine agency, how six billion moldering corpses would factor into the story.
The film’s publicity release reveals no connection, and in fairness, it was most likely already in the works when “The World Without Us” was published last summer. And while Mr. Weisman’s book was a discursive celebration of an earthly paradise, defaced by man, that could reassert itself in his absence, “Life After People” is something altogether simpler: a disaster movie. From the opening montage of rising waters and falling buildings to the later image of the Hoover Dam giving way — the “last of the great collapses” — the film charts the disintegration of our infrastructure along a timeline that stretches from one day to 10,000 years after our disappearance.
It sounds interesting – I saw the book’s author on C-SPAN’s BookTV awhile back. He, like so many environmentalists, seemed absolutely thrilled at the idea of humans being wiped off the face of the planet.
How can you hate your own species like that?