The Walking Dead: As humans die, the planet thrives

Shiva - The Walking Dead, AMC
Shiva - The Walking Dead, AMC /

People spend a lot of time talking about how bad a zombie apocalypse like the one in The Walking Dead would be. But maybe it could be a good thing in the long run.

We all know that The Walking Dead is fiction, and short of a few people dropping bath salts and trying to eat people’s faces off we know that zombies don’t really exist. But sometimes you take a look around and realize that Dwight from The Office might be right, and a plague is exactly what the planet needs right now to thin the human population. The zombie apocalypse is nothing more than a form of a virus gone bad, and as we see in The Walking Dead that virus has reduced the human population drastically. While the humans recover, the planet can flourish.

There are a lot of people on the planet and only so many ways to provide food and shelter for them all. Periodically, nature steps in and thins the herd by introducing an illness into the system. From the Black Plague in the 1300s to the flu epidemic of 1918, there is precedent for large numbers of humans being culled by these superbugs. And there’s no question that superbugs spread quickly when there is a high density cluster of people, so big cities are particularly vulnerable.

Today people are living longer, thanks to advances in medical care. While this is a good thing, it doesn’t help the overcrowding issue. There’s also the issue of not knowing what the long term effects of these medical advances are. Could it be that one day we eliminate so many strains of bacteria that the viruses become immune to antibiotics? We’re told not to use hand sanitizer in large quantities because it’s making bacteria resistant to drugs. What if that’s how the zombie virus starts?

Meanwhile, in the world of The Walking Dead as the human population struggles to survive, everything else thrives. Trees grow, cities are reclaimed by plants and animals. Animals faced with extinction and loss of habitat return to healthy populations. The plants and animals win while the humans lose. For once. (With the exception of slow moving animals that become Walker food. But hey, reason for evolution!)

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Too many people on the planet leads to a scarcity of resources and the destruction of animal habitats as additional food and land to develop are sought. Maybe these epic plagues and viruses are designed to keep the planet in check, and as we tick off the billions of people living on the planet, Mother Nature comes up with a way to reduce those numbers down to manageable sizes.