With the end of the Second World War, we turned a corner that left the world much more complicated than it had been only a few years prior. The atom bomb was a very real, very frightening weapon of which the United States did not long remain the exclusive master.
In the new and escalating post-atomic world, there was a very real possibility that governments and populations could be decimated in a single exchange. In the ’50s, as the fear of nuclear war became ingrained in the public consciousness, underground bunkers filled with supplies were created as part of an American civil defense program.
At the same time, with the government coming to grips with the genie they’d released, continuity of government facilities sprang up to protect and preserve the republic in the event of a nuclear apocalypse. Facilities like The Greenbrier Hotel, Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Raven Rock, and Mount Weather (among others) were meant to provide safe, well-supplied, and well-connected places to which government staff and officials could retreat and keep the engines running.
From places like those, it’s only a small leap to imagine the existence of other, more or less extensive facilities meant to preserve not just the government, but life itself.
Already, places like the Global Seed Vault, the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation, and other regional seed banks exist to ensure the products of Earthly evolution (and human manipulation) aren’t lost forever should our worst fears ever be realized.
Next thing you know, we’ll be sequencing, preserving, and storing human DNA, or perhaps even elevating modern human “seed” storage (sperm/egg banks and the like) to the “doomsday vault” level.
Then, for the ultimate backup solution, you can just bring it all together—along with the entirety of human knowledge—and launch it to the Moon or Mars, or into a 1,000-year orbit, resulting in an ark through which Earthly life could weather almost any storm.
But, you’re thinking, maybe just preserving life isn’t enough. What good is an ark that contains the seeds of all life on Earth, if no one is left to plant them?
Given the existence of those secret (and not-so-secret) underground government and civilian bunkers, it’s hardly a stretch to think that our politicians and the world’s filthiest, richie-richiest people might have bunkers of their own for preserving themselves and several dozen of their closest friends and family members.
With so many ways to die, if humanity is to survive the next 980 years, maybe these will be the ways. Maybe Svalbard will be our salvation. Maybe it will be a Silicon Valley billionaire. Maybe the last Earthly life won’t be on Earth at all. Maybe the last vestige of humanity will consist of inbred, radiation mutated homunculi subsisting on cockroaches and mutant rats.
What do you think the future holds? How do you plan to ride out the apocalypse? What’s your favorite recipe for mutant rat? Let me know in the comments below, get your mutated heinie over to Facebook and leave a comment there, or join me on Patreon where you could have read this a day early!