We love to plot our own demise — people can't seem to get enough of stories about how our end will come to pass. But what about a new beginning? Instead of how we fall down, let's talk about how we get back up.
The young men and women of The CW's new show The 100 find themselves on a desolate Earth, entrusted with picking through the remains of human history and rebuilding what has been lost. To say this is a tall order is an understatement, and I can't help but wonder what my own priorities would be. It's fair to assume that after an apocalyptic event we've lost some pretty vital things like hospitals, law enforcement, and electricity. But there are also plenty of things we won't likely miss. Exes, retail jobs, and traffic, all gone — and good riddance. So, if it's up to you, what stays and what goes? Here are my votes:
For a lot of people, baby pictures and cat videos are the first to go, but hear me out: communication is key to survival. It's what makes walkie-talkies and radios so important in zombie movies. Sure, it would suck to have only 99 Twitter followers, but the ability to share photos, videos, and information with everyone else on the planet at once could be the difference between success and death.
Think of the Arab Spring, just one example of how social media can provide crucial up-to-the-moment information. Or if the news isn't your thing, just think of how few horror movies still make sense after the advent of smartphones. Social media saves lives.
I don't care how hokey this sounds, prejudice is what I want us to leave behind. It's easy to do— with several thousand years of Earth's history pretty safely behind us, but none of the structures formed by said history in place, we could get a fresh start at this whole equality thing. We could rebuild and reshape some of these ideas and institutions with a baseline belief in people truly being equal.
I love a good post-apocalyptic story, but I always wonder why when the hospitals are closed, we resort to band-aids and shamanism once the hospitals shut down. There are still plenty of good scalpels, syringes, and sutures lying around, and though the meds might go bad, we've still got the recipes. It took humanity 3500 years to figure out antibiotics, let's not toss that knowledge out the window just because you can't get them at the pharmacy anymore because, well, the pharmacy blew up. After the apocalypse someone should say goodbye to a social life day one and start studying an old MCAT book. Anyone can follow a recipe with the right tools, precision, and patience. Someone's got a sinus infection? Get to a lab and start cooking. And speaking of cooking...
Conceivably, in some warehouse somewhere, there are more bright yellow, cylindrical snack cakes than anyone needs in ten centuries. They're probably still good after three hundred years and a nuclear war. Honor their memory, and move on. Maybe use some of this newly available land and time not spent in traffic to do that "real food" thing we're always trying to make work.
In the 21st century, it's hard to eat the real thing all the time. There are days when a cheeseburger or a frozen enchilada is the only thing between you and blood red rage. Farming and animal husbandry will be a necessity in the dawn of a new society, but it doesn't have to be all squirrels roasted on sticks. Somewhere in the ruin lies a cookbook that's still useful. Any celebrity chef worth their salt would love the opportunity to cook in an apocalypse. If they could forgive the lack of running water to wash hands, it'd be perfect. "Simple," they'd shout, adding smugly, "rustic." Finally, we're all eating locally grown produce and humanely treated animals, because industrial agriculture is a thing of the past.
So what stays and goes for you? Tell us in the comments below, and remember: ideas don't take up any packing space, and they're easier to share when the going gets tough. Be sure to check out how The 100 rebuild society during the series premiere on Wednesday, March 19 at 9/8 Central on The CW.
Tini Howard is a freelance blogger, journalist, resume writer, and novelist.
This post is a sponsored collaboration between The CW and Studio@Gawker.