Life After People

Life After People

2008, Environment  -   68 Comments
Ratings: 8.12/10 from 286 users.

Based on an odd, slightly morbid but deliriously intriguing premise, the feature-length premiere episode of the History Channel series Life after People supposes what would become of the planet's infrastructure, natural environment and animal population if its human inhabitants were to suddenly disappear.

A world without human beings may sound like a notion right out of an apocalyptic science fiction novel. But given the lingering threats of nuclear and chemical weaponry, and the intensifying tensions in war-torn regions around the world, many believe that such a reality may be inevitable.

We all realize that human beings depend on the planet and its many resources for survival, but to what extent is the planet dependent on us? As detailed in the film, the aftermath of human extinction is as dire and frightening as you would imagine. Millions of dogs and other family pets - particularly those which are housebound - would perish in a matter of weeks. Even the rodent population would become a thing of the past in a surprisingly short period of time. Lions and bears would prowl the streets as if the entire open world was their own private zoo, and only the most resilient among them would thrive.

The tunnels of major cities would swell with unfiltered groundwater, and our oceans and lakes would rise to substantially higher levels. Lightning strikes would spark uncontrollable fires, and burn entire regions to the ground. Plant life would overtake roads, bridges, and buildings. Our most iconic structures would erode into the earth and sea.

Convincing computerized graphics illustrate each step of this probable metamorphosis, but some of the film's most haunting imagery actually comes from a real world setting. Deserted for several decades following a nuclear disaster, the Ukraine city of Chernobyl serves as the primary case study for a post-humanity future. It is here that researchers can witness the environmental effects of decayed buildings, roaming wildlife and uncontrolled vegetation first-hand.

Featuring revealing observations from ecologists, engineers and biologists, Life after People may be far too macabre a proposition for some, but many will be riveted by its exploration of the ultimate what-if scenario.

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5 years ago

I wonder if liberals would kill themselves to make this happen. Save the earth, that's what they are all about after all...

Ben Richards
5 years ago

Very American, very end-of-times. I wonder if any other race of people in any epoch are as fascinated by their total extinction as American culture. Granted, I think it is a human characteristic to create a legacy, we all to some degree hope that our actions will outlive our own mortal time. But, come on you guys, you are living in the most bountiful country on earth, stop fascinating about the destruction of the world and start building a bright future that will outlast your mere 60-90 years.

Mckenzie Ives
6 years ago

all of you who are fighting about your opinions are stupid. I may only be 13, but i think that if someone has a opinion leave it alone. Anna Kravchenko Scarlet Kinsey Richard Lennox, you all think your own way so don't trash each other for your diversity. And Anna, saying "dear child" is offending. How would you like it if someone went up to you and said, "dear old person, just because your old, your opinion doesn't matter" because thats just what you did to that girl (except shes younger). yes she should live a little, but you should try to learn from that. And saying "so kill yourself" is rude (and you said her sharing her opinion was rude). If your as old as i think (30-40's), shouldn't you have learned a little humanity throughout your years? Tabitha Ebert, your comment was really good. :)

Elizabeta St. Pierre
6 years ago

I don't give a damn about the "footprints" I leave - I am leaving as many as possible on purpose; It is clear from the show that none would last too long.

mark button stolpakunangel07@
6 years ago

I don't care for your pressure that you might put on some people's veleif that they might go extinct we all die and extinction wouldn't change the fact that we die. Why would you mess with minda of people who think deeply. Extinction is know different than the next person you know dying. One dead or we or all dead. Quit putting a at into the lives of millions.

Captain Planet
7 years ago

After reading through these comments I can safely say that wheelnut53 is the shining star. First came the internet philosophers comment which I was thinking at exactly the time I read it, and then I got to "the earth is going to be okay it's you dumbasses that are going to die" which had me crying from laughter

7 years ago

The Earth is only 2000 years old? So I'm guessing dinosaur bones are just to test your faith.

I'm reading The Stand by Stephen King. Wanted to look into how Earth would be without us. If there were only a few people left, nuclear radiation would be my biggest concern.

Wayne Ryerson
7 years ago

Well it cannot happen soon enough, without mankind trashing the planet and wiping out every species with their greed, the world returns to a paradise state, and the earth can cleanse itself of us. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Michelle LeVeaux
8 years ago

Not to get all biblical on y'all but, as prophesied, it will all end. People first, then................ I'm not looking for responses from haters and debaters please. I believe what I do for a lifetime of reasons. Just throwing it out there as sort of a devil's advocate (so to speak)!

8 years ago

Life After video deletion.

8 years ago

It's a TV show that expresses some peoples what if scenarios.. It's for entertainment purposes..
Some here need to get over themselves..


Richard Neva
9 years ago

It cannot happen soon enough. I am ready are you?

Sven Breugelmans
9 years ago

just an excuse for CGI-artists to recreate famous buildings...and then destroy*yawn*...imagine putting your brain and computing power at work to try and fix real world problems...looks like michael bay & co took over 'history' channel

Maria Cuprian
10 years ago

It's entertaining and I love it!
It's all presumptions and based on what we've learned so far. Some facts are a little bit exaggerated but it's still a very good documentary.

Tommy Corn
10 years ago

It's likely that I'll look like a fool, but I find a glaring flaw in this. I understand that this isn't about how humans disappeared, but that must be taken into account when considering what happens to life after people. With the fact that humans are widely dispersed across the globe, with some in very remote areas, I find it unlikely that disease would be the cause of our demise. Therefore, it's much more probable that it would be due to some global catastrophe such as an asteroid or the eruption of a super volcano, which could be devastating to other beings on the planet ranging from plant to animal life.

10 years ago

I dont consider this a documentary. It's interesting but not a documentary. It's all about a "what if" situation with scientists talking about what they think that they're pretty sure would happen.

10 years ago

I've watched this documentary more times than any other , I love it

10 years ago

The Earth will be ok its you dumbasses that are going to die

10 years ago

not rediculous , humans are pretty much the scum of the world , believing we are the centre point of this earth and it wouldnt function without us.which to a point is true "Our world" wouldnt function without us as we have built it on that common beleif ,humans dont have any specific prey other than sicknesses we have created ourselves (so in a scence we are killing ourselves,bonza!)building a power plant on land that could be used to regenerate rainforest/bush to allow all species (not just human) to feed live and prosper ,would, i beleive create harmony , although your new generation IPhone would be f*cked we would have to learn to ACTUALLY live for ourselves , within the guidlines of nature , ide gladly neck up if it ment resttoration of the world could take place , and only if your arrogant a** was with me , there you go my two cents ...

10 years ago

so this film misses, overlooks the human nuclear footprint. our radioactive wastes will impact life for a long long time, even a half million years. Fukushima opened our eyes. Within a week the unmaintained reactors even the failsafe ones would leak, melt, explode and burn...

10 years ago

This makes the bizarre assumption that we simply disappear. Methinks it a long term process, well after Electricity has ceased to be. Unless one hods to that nonsensical heresy of rapture. I have long ago noticed how quickly nature takes over any abandoned building or black of land "inundated & flooded with water" pleonasm

10 years ago

Sorry, but if there were no humans left to keep all the nuclear reactors in cold shut down, the Earth would quickly become one massive nuclear explosion in space. Or is the human race going to go and dump all this stuff on Saturn before it extincts itself?

11 years ago

"Silenced by Nature's Onslaught" is a visual that is remarkably atypically us-centric. Humanity cannot quell the yens of our desire for perfection and pure, unbiased hypotheses. Perhaps it is not within our intrinsic natures as homo sapiens, to be able to remove ourselves solely by our own volition, from hypothetical and real scenarios.
The echoes of human existence reverberate our innate need for godlike complexities and curious drive to become super-heroic saviors.
Yet each known or discovered civilization of our past seems to make one thing clear: the world needs saving, if from nothing but ourselves.

11 years ago

I'm in amazement at how fast the internet philosophers can find a place to post . I like this video BTW

11 years ago

"we should not breed". How stupid. If we all adopt we will soon have to "breed". So, my question is, who gets the privilege of breeding and who has to adopt? The best genetics? The wealthiest? random names out of a hat?

Given the choice that we have now, obviously most choose to make their own. Take this choice away, which you would have to in order to make this happen. Everyone adopting, will resent it, and everyone breeding won't want to give up their child.

Now, my last point is on your "after all is it just not wrong to say you want a child but then say "But that one's not good enough for me"

No, that is not wrong. The couple who have died or abandoned the child should have not conceived it in the first place, its irresponsible and cruel.

children are a product of love, by your wordings and sentiments i feel you lacked love as a child, or you would realise the bond, love and connection to your OWN child is a force like no other, adopting just isn't the same. However, those that do may be under the illusion they feel the same, because often they adopt because they can't have their own.

Scarlet Kinsey
11 years ago

Anna Kravchenko
Your 'logical conclusion' to the problems at hand are stupid 'Earth will be better off without us? Then kill yourself" Yes, that is ridiculous, because that is not the answer, the answer is to change, educate others that you don't need to use electricity quite so stupidly often, or buy products you know involve abuse of animals, I don't, when you take from the environment you should put it back, you should also not breed, for there are plenty of parentless children that also take from the environment, why add one more when those already existing children are more worthy of your parenthood for simply already existing in the first place? Beings that may exist in the future have no rights up until the point they exist.
Anyone that wants children should adopt, after all is it just not wrong to say you want a child but then say "But that one's not good enough for me"?

Besides, we are not saying progress is wrong, progress will eventually help us to live causing as little harm as possible.

Angeleah Schaefer
11 years ago

I really dislike how this series acts like nature is a "terrible and destructive force" and how great windstorms destroy "helpless cities," even when we're already gone. I also nearly laugh/cried at how they deliberately skirted around in the "Invaders" episode about how humans were keeping back the invasive species like we're heroes or something.. when it was us who brought most of them in the first place.

In the "Water of Death" episode, I thought it was ridiculous how they called water a "destructive force" when it was only claiming back what we had forcefully taken and held on to for hundreds of years. How can they say it was the "water of death" when it brought back life to the places we'd left barren? Yes, the aquarium deaths were sad, but it wasn't the water that caused them.

It was actually really arrogant to keep calling nature the one who was destructive and violent. The series is also inadequately named. It should be called "Human Civilizations Without People," because that is the main focus of these films. In sort of a twisted, human way, we still see ourselves and the cities we built as being "the world," even when they no longer matter. In one part of the "Invaders" episode, we think that other animals will think of us as the stuff of legends, as if we're gods.

The series really focused way too much on what would happen to our buildings and such and not enough of how nature would take over once again and begin to clean the air, the seas and bury our poisons. The outcome would be beautiful. "Nature is our enemy," the series seems to say, "fear and fight it."

If you really want a good book (as I think someone mentioned here before) which is fascinating, unbiased, meant for a more mature audience (yes, I remember seeing that tower fall, I don't need to see it 10 more times..), and gives you more than you'd think it would, definitely check out The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. Read it all the way through. You may be horrified, sorrowed, confused, saddened and numb, but you will be changed and you will begin (if you have not already) to be able to find your purpose. There is none of this HUMANS-ARE-THE PROTECTORS-OF-THE-EARTH-IT-IS-SUCH-A-TRAGEDY-THIS-ONE-SPECIES-IS-GONE-WHO-WILL-EVER-FILL-THEIR-NICHE??!-nonsense.

I still have 4 more episodes to watch, but unless they are much much different from the previous ones, I doubt they'll be worth watching. All in all it was over-sensationalized with the fake-static and general bad-horror-movie sequences.

Not really worth the watch, there are better documentaries and books about this out there.

And yes, I agree with Tabitha Ebert, there are a lot of young people who are becoming more aware of the world which is being passed down to us (I'm 19) and it becomes clearer that something must be done.

Nature is tough and resilient, but at what point will it no longer be able to erase our growing footprint?

12 years ago

its left out the oil rigs :/ they'd go and pollute the planet's sea's from their decay.

12 years ago

World without us....Alan Weisman

12 years ago

I watched this when it was on TV.
Couldn't help but watch it again!!

12 years ago

Very interesting movie, but I don't think it is possible for ALL people to be gone.
A meteor in the future could be possibly prevented from hitting the Earth by humans.
A nuclear war wouldn't kill ALL humans, only most (5 from 6,8 billions for example) - see the game Fallout. This is completely unrealistic situation but Hey! that's what sf movies are about !

13 years ago

very entertaining! they even included domesticated dogs in this!

13 years ago

This was pretty interesting, but I already had considered all of this stuff and more because I read "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman. If you even remotely liked this doc, you should f'ing read this book. Many contemporary documentaries are trying to attract easily distracted people with 'intense' music and 'threatening' narrators and flashy graphics. This one is no exception, and I hope you will read "The World Without Us" which will spare you all that.

13 years ago

Humans will eventually disappear? Why? What will happen to humans? Where will we all go? I can imagine only a nuclear war would cause this.

13 years ago

Go Nature!

13 years ago

Really, really awful narration. Reasons: the narrator's voice has that danger tone (like the one you hear in movie trailers) and he maintains it for every single sentence for the entire hour and a half. The music also has a danger quality which never ends. In addition, the captions have this electrified noise which accompanies their entrance and removal from the screen. Really irritating.

HOWEVER, Ray Coppinger is amazing. I don't want to spoil too much about this documentary, but we may have flying cats in the future! Two thumbs way up.

OVERALL: Interesting, but the experience was utterly destroyed by the narrator's voice.

13 years ago

Pretty showy and sensationalized. Lots of repeated cgi. The Golden Gate and other structures fall several times each. 6th-8th grade level.

13 years ago

So evidence of our civilization would disappear in the blink of the geological eye? Yes and rightly so.
Alfons v911t

13 years ago

Very well done! I love the editing both visually and sound. It flowed nicely. I enjoyed watching it.

14 years ago

It forgot to mention how long our foot steps on the moon will last.

14 years ago

Another great addition to this fantastic website.
Totally enjoyed this one, thanks Vlatko, keep up the great work.

14 years ago

Very educational and fascinating documentary. Thanks Vlatko!