When there’s no food on the shelves, no gas at the convenience store, and no water coming out the taps, it’s safe to conclude the empire has abandoned you. But if you think an economic recovery is right around the corner, you still will not abandon the empire. By that time, it’s too late to start thinking about other arrangements. Hell, it’s too late to pack the car and hit the road.
In the final pages of Earth Abides, Stewart gives us great hope. He envisions the day civilized humans will give way to worldly humans, abandoning dominance and arrogance for coexistence and humility. He imagines humans living with the world, instead of apart from it. He imagines us becoming part of nature, so that, when nature bats last, we’ll still be on the planetary stage