Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Post-Apocalyptic A to Z: Underwater Perils

In any post-apocalyptic scenario, the oceans and streams are going to be in trouble. In Soylent Green, perhaps the best post-apocalyptic film of all time, they mention that the oceans are dead. It's hard to imagine killing off life in 71% of the Earth's surface, but actually the ecozones in streams and oceans seem to be less durable than those on land, and much of our waste and industrial emissions end up there.

Right now I'm reading A Drive Through England, written in 1885 by James John Hissey. It's a charming Victorian travelogue with plenty of lush descriptions of unspoilt countryside, but there are sobering passages as well. Hissey mentions that fishing in the Thames isn't what it used to be.

"What a pity it is there are nowadays no salmon in this fine river, and that a Thames trout should be such a rarity and curiosity! As late as 1820, this noble fish had not forsaken this stream, one of seventy-two pounds being captured that year by one Robert Coxen, a waterman, at Twickenham. Salmon still annually make their appearance at the Thames mouth, and if only they could make their way through the dirty water and filth we throw needlessly into the river, there would be as good sport for anglers west of Twickenham as there is north of the Tweed."

Luckily the Thames is a lot cleaner than in his day. Salmon and trout are beginning to reappear, thanks to a decline in England's industrial base.

Maybe the fall of civilization would be good for the environment. :-

Image of the Trout Inn at Godstow courtesy Rod Allday. Many pubs are called "The Trout" in reference to the fishing that used to occur nearby.


D.G. Hudson said...

What is man thinking if he thinks at all of the environment? Usually how best to utilize that for his own means. Pity. There are always consequences for abuse to nature.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good to know the damage to the Thames is reversing.

Rusty Carl said...

I'd hope that a fall of civilization would be good for the environment, but I always worry about the unattended chemical factories and radioactive materials that would be left to do whatever. I'm sure there would be huge swathes of unlivable land for some time.

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