Flint, Without Us

It is returning to nature. A nice little photo essay.

There’s a quote from a New Yorker review of the book, The World Without Us:

After thousands of years, the Chunnel, rubber tires, and more than a billion tons of plastic might remain, but eventually a polymer-eating microbe could evolve, and, with the spectacular return of fish and bird populations, the earth might revert to Eden.

Why do I think that the reviewer would look forward to that? Except, of course, he or she wants an Eden without either Adam, or Eve.

32 thoughts on “Flint, Without Us”

  1. As I was growing up in Alabama I remember the abandoned company towns that were built around the coal mines. Very very few of these remain today and the town that my mother was born in is now a forest.

    They come and they go, and with cap and trade more and more are going to go.

  2. Deer in NYC?

    I currently live in an apartment complex, just blocks from where I lived as a teenager. Granted, Raleigh isn’t NYC, but we have more natural wildlife here now than we did then, and there was more “woods” area then.

    I have deer that graze behind my building, hawks and owls in the trees and possums under my patio slab.

    And I live in the center of town, blocks from NCSU.

    Deer in NYC is possible NOW.

  3. Yeah, and what’s this deal with a weekly TV series about life after man? I get the impression it’s a show for some “ecologists” to watch and touch themselves. It’s repugnant to me that anyone would watch a show that any sensible human being would find depressing and awful, but I guess some don’t view it the same way.

  4. Mike,

    I view the show as nothing but propaganda for the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (http://www.vhemt.org/ ) the ultimate goal of the radical ecologists.

    I think the history channel should give equal time for the Human Expansion Movement – i.e. how the expansion of humans throughout the solar system and to the stars will create unlimited wealth on Earth.


  5. If the HEM keeps pushing, the HEM might ultimately grant them their wish on a personal level.

    At least they wont die a hypocrite.

  6. That Voluntary Human Extinction Movement sounds great and I’m all for it. Let them teach by example and go first. We’ll watch and learn and follow them. Sure we will.

  7. The VHEM reminds me of the novel Kalki by Gore Vidal, a really twisted yet fascinating book where the first-person protagonist, a woman (natch) unwittingly helps kill off all but like six members of the human race by dropping paper laced with a lethal bio agent from a jet airplane. The leader of the survivors, Kalki, is going to father a brand new human race and everyone will live happily ever after. Except all of a sudden it’s discovered that his woman is infertile, and then folks start killing each other, and then it’s just Kalki at the end and he’s lost his mind, writing gibberish and whatnot. A great look into the sickness of the Modern Liberal Mind. These perpetual children should not be allowed into the dining room of our country — they will break something soon enough.

  8. Speaking of NYC, just yesterday had a conversation with another tenant in my building whom I remotely know and she was talking about how she thinks Mayor Bloomberg is just like Hitler because he dealt with the geese flying around LGA just like Hitler dealt with Jews. Then she went on about revenge of the Mayan spirit, Nostradamus, and that reason NYC is experiencing unprecedented rainfall is due to Bloomberg being just like Hitler. She was serious about what she believed.

    The remarkable thing about this tenant is that she is 30 year old ‘educated’ woman who is in the medical profession, she is a plastic surgeon.

    Now I’ve always thought Bloomberg was more a dreadful Mommy-Nanny Meddler using his power to ban things he doesn’t like more than he is a Hitler however it strange to listen to one who is supposed to be highly educated speaking like an insane lunatic.

    All I know is there is something quite off when America’s Institutions of Higher Learning continue to produce spastic, schizophrenic, hypochondriac students who carry their insanity with them wherever they go.

    Parents, if all the American universities can accomplish is to turn your children into spastic, schizophrenic, hypochondriac zombie freaks then a college degree is not worth the price paid in insanity.

    Don’t go to college, you will lose your mind and graduate insane; maybe it is time to rid the insane asylum of tenured professors.

  9. Well, the Life After People show coyly suggests that all the people left on a fleet of spaceships to go someplace else. Which will become necessary if the human race is to endure. The Sun will, you see, eventually supernova and burn up the Earth. And that will be that.

  10. “Yeah, and what’s this deal with a weekly TV series about life after man?”

    It’s real simple. Man turns out not to conform to the theory. And whenever reality conflicts with theory, it’s always reality that’s got it wrong. And has to go.

  11. Let them go. Let them spin their insane fantasies endlessly. Let their pathology be fully documented in print and in video. Let them proudly wear their Human Extinction badge for everyone to see.

    People are starting to wake up. The cost of keeping the loons around increases daily. There will come a breaking point and they will be sent into the endless night they long for and so richly deserve.

  12. The author said…..”the earth might revert to Eden.” Obviously the author does not realize that the earth is a jungle where only the strong survive. It is a eat or be eaten way of life that exists from once celled protozoa, to the largest animals on land, water,and the air. Man for all of his failings, at least in some societies,cares for aged and sick. Not so in the animal world. Yes we have many imperfections, but the world is a lot closer to Eden with us than without us.

  13. When I think of this whole idea that if somehow humans disappeared from the Earth that it would revert to some magical, edenic situation, I can’t help but think of that idea Socrates put forward that the unexamined life is not worth living. An Earth without humans would be, essentially, an unexamined life and just as pointless. A bunch of mindless animals eating each other for 100 million years and getting wiped out by volcanic eruptions and meteors periodically is hardly the stuff of Eden. But somehow, a scarily large number of self-loathing humans seem to think it is. It’s getting harder and harder to figure out what is wrong with people.

  14. “Yeah, and what’s this deal with a weekly TV series about life after man?”

    Have you watched the show? I was also put off by the title, but it isn’t what you might expect. It’s really more of an exercise in the engineering implications of long-term neglect. Most of the episodes I’ve seen have been about what would happen to various manmade structures and technologies left forever unmaintained. How long would they last? What would destroy them? I personally find that interesting, and sometimes even inspiring.

    Yeah, there is a bit of “new Eden” flavor to some of the scenarios, but more often it’s just a bit melancholy.

  15. The show is actually somewhat interesting, the book that inspired it is odd, because they combine an ecoreligionist’s adoration with a serious discussion of an interesting concept: the breakdown rate of technological artifacts, i.e. the effects of entropy.

    The book’s author DRIPPED postmodern guilt over Man’s damange to the sacred natural world, and in the last chapter he spins out the silly old notion of a ‘one chld’ policy to save the planet, as if we had a population crisis.

    And yet the book is interesting from an academic POV, in its discussion of the ephemeral nature of human artifacts, and the processes by which they would disappear in our absence. The author seems to dimly, dimly sense at times that the entire ‘Man has ruined the Earth’ premise is contradicted by his own studies of the effect of such processes, at the risk of engaging in the pathetic fallacy, we can accurately say that the Earth hasn’t even noticed us or our efforts. A few centuries of industrialization is nothing in a span of four billion years of impactors, supernovae, mantle plumes, plagues, Solar variations, ice ages, etc.

    But he can’t make the final step, it’s too alien for him. The ecoreligionist is simultaneously arrogant in his belief in Man’s encompassing power to ruin and strangely self-abnegating in his adoration of the abstract concept of a natural world absent of people.

    But the book and the show it inspired are actually not without interest from the POV of how things decay, which one can find academically interesting without in any way desiring to have it happen, just as one can contemplate the effect of, say, a nearby supernova on life without wishing its occurrance.

  16. These people know that once those meddling, space-faring humans are gone, the rest of the wretched earth-life is bound to be exterminated when the sun dies. Probably even sooner.

  17. The beating heart of environmentalism is racism and misanthropy. It is a perverted and unkind religion like the one the Aztecs practiced. It pretends to be a political theory, but, because it repudiates Cicero’s maxim, which is also the epigraph of Locke’s “Two Treatises of Civil Government”, “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto“, in favor of the non-human world, it cannot be political in any way. It is a mere expression of contempt towards men. As Virginia Postrel commented years ago, at least when they were Marxists, they favored some part of humanity.

    Environmentalism and its practitioners must be exposed, mocked and driven from the public arena.

  18. Supposedly after Yosemite got turned into a national park because it was so awesome, the people in charge decided to get rid of the Native Americans in it. Things went to pot. Other things were tried. Things were bad in another way. The reverse was tried. Eventually, it was realized that letting the Native Americans use the land was part and parcel of it being so cool in the first place.

    We are to be stewards of the world, according to the First Cause, but unfortunately, we still don’t know what we’re doing. More real science is called for.

    The VHEM–death cultists? Worshippers of Kali? One has to suspect that most VHEM if asked would say ‘yes, I wish I’d never been born’. I also suspect that most or all are rebels against the Truth, against the First Cause. And a total rejection of truth leads one to insanity. I feel pity for such people, as well as a will to see that they never get their hands on any sort of power.

  19. As Feuerbach said, “The earth has a skin. This skin has diseases. One of those diseases is called Man.” Why does anyone think that if one of those diseases decided to commit suicide it would make any difference to the Earth? Another disease would just spring up to replace it. It is insanely egotistical to think that Man could ever endanger or even adversely affect the Earth, because the Earth has no perfect or even preferred way of existing that We could affect.

  20. Just thinking of all this makes me think of (nothing but) Flowers,

    Here we stand
    Like an Adam and an Eve
    The Garden of Eden
    Two fools in love
    So beautiful and strong
    The birds in the trees
    Are smiling upon them
    From the age of the dinosaurs
    Cars have run on gasoline
    Where, where have they gone?
    Now, it’s nothing but flowers

    There was a factory
    Now there are mountains and rivers
    you got it, you got it

    We caught a rattlesnake
    Now we got something for dinner
    we got it, we got it

    There was a shopping mall
    Now it’s all covered with flowers
    you’ve got it, you’ve got it

    If this is paradise
    I wish I had a lawnmower
    you’ve got it, you’ve got it

    Years ago
    I was an angry young man
    I’d pretend
    That I was a billboard
    Standing tall
    By the side of the road
    I fell in love
    With a beautiful highway
    This used to be real estate
    Now it’s only fields and trees
    Where, where is the town
    Now, it’s nothing but flowers
    The highways and cars
    Were sacrificed for agriculture
    I thought that we’d start over
    But I guess I was wrong

    Once there were parking lots
    Now it’s a peaceful oasis
    you got it, you got it

    This was a Pizza Hut
    Now it’s all covered with daisies
    you got it, you got it

    I miss the honky tonks,
    Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
    you got it, you got it

    And as things fell apart
    Nobody paid much attention
    you got it, you got it

    I dream of cherry pies,
    Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
    you got it, you got it

    We used to microwave
    Now we just eat nuts and berries
    you got it, you got it

    This was a discount store,
    Now it’s turned into a cornfield
    you got it, you got it

    Don’t leave me stranded here
    I can’t get used to this lifestyle

    Also a test to see if this will post.

  21. Actually the decline of cities like Flint is the best illustration realities of a market base economy. The local and state governments freely made decisions (high taxes, closed union shops, strict environmental laws) that created a poor environment for business. The result was that when corporations needed to expand they looked elsewhere, first to the American south and western states, then overseas. That in essence is the root problem of the rust belt and Flint is the poster child of it. And its nothing new, but is a trend that goes back over 50 years.

    There is a reason why firms like GM are closing their rust belt plants while keeping their plants in the south and overseas. If the rust belt towns wish to reverse their decline they need to reverse those bad decisions made in regards to taxes, labor and environmental laws, etc. and business will again return, even given the harsh physical climate. Yes, I was raised in Chicago and have seen 10 below and snow, which is why I now live in San Diego. So if you want me to move to Michigan you need to give me a strong economic incentive, not the de-incentive of higher taxes and more regulation. Yes, the same type of ghost towns are likely to be in the future of California as well even given the nice climate unless the state mends its ways. I know I am seriously looking at moving to Texas next year when my kids finish their last year of high school.

    But in essence the “hard times’ of places like Flint are self-inflected and will only change when they change their attitude. A good example was the article on fireworks. Even though a number of firms passed the hat to pay for the show the city government of Flint still nixed it claiming there just wasn’t time to plan for controlling the traffic. Lack of adaptability and flexibility is the root cause of extinction and the inability of the city to act on the fireworks is symbolic of their inability to adapt to the changing world economy. Extinction isn’t just bad luck. It’s the just reward for bad decision making.

    And the same will be true for humanity as a whole. We have a solar system full of resources to exploit. If humanity goes extinct as in the series it will be humanity’s own fault because it turned away from a future of endless wealth. And if America declines it will because it failed to pursue space exploration as economic policy instead choosing to see it as merely science.

  22. Strict environmental laws? In Flint? You’ve obviously never seen or smelled the Flint River. Just pull that phrase from your comment and you might be on to something.

  23. Syn,

    I find it very troubling that you share a building and have conversations with people who deal with cellulite and wrinkles just like Hitler dealt with Jews.

  24. Geewhy,

    Its also relative – comparing the environmental laws for a plant in Flint versus plants in China or Mexico which are staying open. And the paperwork requirements associated with those laws.

  25. I hope you like it, cause this is what the Cap and Trade plan of the Dems for creating trillions of green jobs is about to bring to the rest of the nation. No doubt they’ll all require membership in the UAW.

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