Sometimes we would like to think of the end of the world, as something quick and catastrophic, but other times the end is slow and creeps up on people to eat away at them overtime and destroy their civilizations out from underneath them. Through chemical crisis, or plague, or government ruin we could be destroyed. Vampires or other preternaturals could also be our downfalls, but the constant that will hang over our civilization forever for all time to come is that there will be ruins and there will be discovery in terms of trash. All those forgotten items or treasures that could be useful to people in the future that we take for granted today and discard may be something brilliant in the future.
There are many books across genres that depict the dystopian future into a new bleak light but showcase elements from people’s past as having special significance. In The Forest of Hands and Teeth we find the old world in ruins and fallen apart with dilapidated homesteads and hordes of fences. In Julie Kagawa’s Immortal Rules the future’s ruins hold treasured food and medicines encapsulated in old abandoned buildings. In The Way Things Fall as a plague passes through a small island population the people find that houses hold food and medicine also for the dying populous and those struggling to survive. Life As We Knew It paints a horrifying dystopian landscape that as the moon lowers and comes closer to Earth and everything changes people struggle to find food and supplies in the ruins of their world as everything seems to fall apart also.
Many books give us a fearful future that the populous has not been prepared for and as they strive to live, people turn to those things that have been left behind in the ruins of their civilizations. Through death and destruction there will always be those who search through the wreckage, combing through buildings and finding those things that were left behind for forgotten. When not much works as we commonly want, dumps and trash may support life with all of the things we have discarded. Landfills may be a way of living someday, and while that does not sound like a great future, think of what things you have thrown away in the past year, and if you had nothing and lived in a wasteland, could you have used those things in that day.
Old places of refuse are like a gold mine for the dystopian apocalypse, like little stored treasures for future outcomes. Digging in an old homestead last week we unearth old glass Hawaiian Punch containers and amber glass Clorex bottles that could be used again today, yet while muddy they were in good unbroken condition. American culture is a disposable one, and while we may take for granted this lifestyle, one day those old cans of food and prepackaged goods may be the very thing that keeps us alive when we least expect it in many ways.