"Whenever I see a world untouched by war, a world of innocence, a world of lush forests and clear rivers... I really just wanna
nuke the crap out of it!"
When there's a Dystopia
of some kind, especially if it involves machinery, there will usually be one spot in the world that still retains nature and beauty. One area where plants flourish, the water is fine, and in general things are very nice.
The bad guys usually want to get rid of it, either for resource gathering or for the sole purpose of being a douche.
Places like these are often used in a Green Aesop
and Gaia's Lament
Related to Hope Sprouts Eternal
. Can go hand in hand with The Promised Land
when the characters are trying to reach it, and/or converse about it and all its wonders. Alternatively, the characters may already live there because it's the only habitable place left (in particularly dark versions, it may be on its last legs
, with humanity doomed to extinction
unless the blight can be undone).
Anime & Manga
- Played with in Phoenix: Resurrection, where the protagonist and his love interest are seen enjoying themselves in a pastoral landscape; however, the protagonist's perceptions have been altered due to a botched resurrection treatment, and this beautiful landscape is actually a run-down factory. (Similarly, the girl is actually a robot who looks only barely human in reality.)
- In Blue Submarine No. 6, there's an orchard in Antarctica.
- Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind, of course, although it's also sort of a subversion since humans in their current state can't survive the truly green areas, due to the heavy biological alterations that made them capable of living in the poisoned land to begin with.
- Green Legend Ran revolves around this for its plot, only instead of a specific region of land, it's also a specific girl with the power to restore the depleted planet back to life.
- Cephiro in Magic Knight Rayearth 2. The world itself has been drastically reduced in size (and more is crumbling away into the sky daily), leaving one castle that supports the population with gardens and orchards inside.
- Macross Frontier toward the end has the Vajra Homeworld, which becomes this trope when Frontier suffers so much ecological damage to its habitat fleet from the war that they can no longer sustain themselves. Deconstructed, as the Vajra are perfectly happy to leave it that way, while Frontier launches an all-out assault on the planet in order to colonize it.
- The war between Rome and Helvetia in Sora No Woto is over the last fertile territories on Earth, after some mysterious war against... someone turned most of the world into a desert and wrecked the oceans.
- Averted in the French comic La Bombe, in which a massive pharmaceutical company maintains a vast expanse of Amazonian forest alive on an otherwise dystopian city-planet, because it's actually cheaper to get the various compounds from plants rather than synthesizing them.
- Avalon in the X-Men epic Age of Apocalypse is this. (AND the bad guys are trying to destroy it.)
- Silent Running (1972). All plant life on Earth has been made extinct: the only plants left are in giant greenhouses attached to space freighters. Orders come through to jettison and destroy the domes so the ships can be returned to commercial service.
- FernGully: The Last Rainforest - with a title like that... In this case, justified because the Big Bad feeds off such evil.
- Waterworld : The mythical Dry Land...
- The planet of Pandora in Avatar acts like this on a planet-wide scale for the dissolute, solar-system conquering, machine-driven humans.
- The Ice Pirates
- At the very end of the film of The Road, birdsong can be heard, implying that the protagonist may have found such a place and that there's hope for the world yet.
- The remake of Total Recall has a chunk of Europe and Australia be the two remaining habitable regions on Earth with the rest being toxic. However, it's difficult to call the regions "fertile" since all we see are cities and slums.
- In 1984, the countryside pasture that Winston and Julia make love in could count.
- Except that even there, Big Brother Is Watching
- It was also hardly "untouched". During the war, an atomic bomb had hit the area and more recently, the Party had conducted a large scale deforestation. The reason it was deserted at the time was because all that was left were smaller trees.
- Children's literature example: Bill Peet's The Wump World — the evil Pollutians take over a Garden Of Eden world and pave it pole to pole, driving the titular Wumps underground, but when they move on, the plants regrow from one little park.
- Some Star Wars Expanded Universe authors make mention of man-made nature areas on the city planet of Coruscant.
- There are actually two on the Noghri homeworld of Honoghr, but arable land is incredibly scarce. The Noghri believe this is due to chemical and radioactive poisoning from several starships destroyed in orbit. In reality, the Empire deliberately engineered the catastrophe and has spent the last 44 years carefully restricting the amount of livable space to keep the Noghri in perpetual indentured servitude. Understandably, the Noghri are pissed when they find out, leading directly to the creation of the second using decontamination materials provided by the New Republic in a sheltered valley hidden from orbital sensors.
- In the Second and Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Andelain becomes this.
- Yevgeny Zamyatin's We features a future where most of the Earth's population has been wiped out by war, but a small enclave called the One State remains surrounded by a Green Wall to protect the people from the savagery of the outside world. This is an inversion of the trope, however; the world outside the Green Wall is actually a lush natural reserve, while the One State itself is entirely mechanized and everything in it is made of glass.
- In The Ear, the Eye and the Arm Resthaven, "the heart of Africa," is a gigantic nature compound and recreation of life as it was in ancient Africa, in the middle of Zimbabwe, which has been completely industrialized and citified. Resthaven is so utterly protected - few of its inhabitants know of the outside world at all, and even airplanes are expressly forbidden from flying overhead - that it never really runs into danger in the story. Instead, when the lost children enter Resthaven, it's a sign of panic because bureaucracy means they'll never leave.
- Subverted in Mark Geston's science fiction novel Out of the Mouth of the Dragon, where the only land on Earth whose ecology hasn't been totally destroyed by human activity is a reeking swamp infested with giant, man-eating lizards. And in the end, even that last ecosystem is destroyed by the chemical and biological weapons that wiped out the two nations to the north of the swamp. Which in turn drove the now-starving giant man-eating lizards to the south in search of food, where they ate all the people of Enador, the last and most powerful city-state in the world. More or less played straight with the sea, which seems to have miraculously remained fertile, but even that dies in the end.
- In Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card, wars, droughts, and general disregard for the environment have resulted in very few farmable lands, and those area already being worked at 100% capacity to produce food for the remaining 1 billion people. It's about to get worse, with the global cooling creating a cloud cover which will reduce crops. Industry is almost non-existent due to most able-bodied workers being put into the fields. Weather control satellites are bound to break down eventually, and, with no industry to replace them, the weather will get even less predictable, further reducing crops. Even the best estimate predict a total collapse of civilization within a few decades with the coming Ice Age leaving less than 10 million survivors. The lack of easily-reachable natural resources means that civilization will never recover. That's how important fertile land is.
- Interestingly, according to one character, nature will eventually recover, but it will be far too late for the human race.
- However, the human race will survive but will not move beyond Stone Age, as all surface or near-surface resources have been exhausted.
- The city where Gun God lives in Angel Notes is the last place on Earth where plants can still grow after the death of Gaia (the Earth spirit that is needed for anything to live on the planet—except humans), because it is built upon the giant corpse of Type-Venus, an alien life form from another planet whose spirit is alive and thus remotely provides nourishment to the Terran plants.
- The land of Shinovar in The Stormlight Archive is an interesting variant. Due to the massive mountain range on its eastern edge, it is the one place on the planet where Earth-style life can grow. Everywhere else, the super-hurricanes known as highstorms scour the land to bare rock every few days. All the plants have stony shells in which to hide, more like coral than Earth plants, and all the animals are arthropodal or insectoid designs that can withstand the storms. The twist is that all the protagonists are native to the storm-lands, so seeing Shinovar and what we would consider to be normal plants and animals freaks them out.
- Power Rangers RPM has the entire world seemingly overrun by Killer Robots and turned into a barren wasteland. The only spot left standing is the domed city of Corinth. In the finale, however, some of the characters find another fertile region growing back.
- In Metal Walker, the Rusted Land is a polluted, rusting cesspool. However, there's one spot in the game with trees and plants, aptly named Ever Green.
- In the fourth Mega Man Zero game, nature is finally returning to Area Zero after a Colony Drop and the Elf Wars ravaged the world. Dr. Weil, the Big Bad, wants to destroy the place not only For the Evulz, but because that's where the humans that escaped him were hiding out.
- There's a more 'limited' example in Final Fantasy VII... Midgard's use of Mako Reactors, that actually suck The Lifestream right out of the ground, makes it impossible for anything to grow in the area - indeed, there's nothing but dead wasteland for miles around, even once you get outside the city walls. However, in one run-down old church in the slums, in a spot where the old board-floor has rotted through, there lies a small garden, where beautiful, white flowers bloom...
- Also, while infiltrating Shinra Corporation, the heroes can listen in on a board meeting and learn that Shinra is searching for a holy land said to be overflowing with Mako... so they can drain it dry. For massive profits of course.
- In Wild ARMs 3, there are two fertile regions in what is otherwise a planet-wide desert: a tiny garden and forest powered by the last of the Elw and the region around Yggdrassil which is sucking up all the life energy of Filgaea, and thus has a little bit of "spillover" around it.
- Fallout 3 has Oasis, the only place in the wasteland where trees flourish. The reason that nature flourishes here may be considered nightmare fuel to some, though.
- Fallout: New Vegas likewise has the valley at the entrance to Vault 22, which is quite lush and verdant in comparison to its surroundings. Unlike in 3, however, the Nightmare Fuel status of the flora from Vault 22 is indisputable. The Colorado River is a variant; it's the last source of clean, radiation-free water in the region and the source of most of the armed conflict.
- Honest Hearts has Zion National Park, which the nuclear war barely touched and has long since recovered, and is a paradise on earth compared to the rest of the Fallout universe. The player's moral choice is to evacuate the peaceful natives and let the Last Fertile Region be destroyed by its conquerors, or help the natives fight for it at the cost of their innocence.
- That said, shrubbery and plant growth is surprisingly common throughout the Mojave wasteland. The Mount Charleston area is covered in thick evergreen forest.
- And infested with giant insects. The way the food chain works in the Fallout universe, fertile areas also have larger man-eating apex predators.
- Played with brutally in Metro Last Light. The surface world is slowly starting to recover, but the main plot is over a different kind of Last Fertile Region: D6, the massive military complex discovered in the first game. Rather than verdant meadows, D6 is a treasure trove of unspoiled supplies left over from before the war that will make whichever station that controls it comparably rich.
- The Command & Conquer series. Tiberium has ravaged much of the world. The GDI occupies the few fertile places left. Both Nod and Scrin wants to bomb the shits out of them.
- Except the GDI actually made the Blue Zones tiberium-free, although they had to exclude areas that were too far gone (e.g. contaminated water supply).
- The creation of Demilitarized Zones between countries on the brink of conflict can make for some surprisingly lush nature preserves, set apart from human influence. Particularly, the one between the borders of North and South Korea is one of the most well-preserved temperate habitats in the world, with a number of endangered species within it. Pretty good for a place surrounded by fortified fences, land-mines and sniper towers owned by two countries with quite poor environmental track records.
- Of course there is the fact that the deer tend to occasionally set off a mine if they get too heavy.
- Ironically the same thing has happened to Chernobyl. The humans that used to inhabit the area were more of a hazard to the wildlife than the residual background radiation.
- Which sounds almost heartwarming until you realize it could be used as a justification for eco-terrorists to use nuclear weapons. Nothing like a little radiotherapy to cure what ails mother nature...
- Not entirely true. While studies found that deer, boar, and birds moved into the area after the city was evacuated, followup studies have painted a far more negative picture: big animals typically die at a much younger age than they would otherwise do, many species display severely stunted growth, and some, like the songbirds, have been doing very poorly. They can live there, but they're not flourishing in the way that was initially thought.
- The Bialowieza Forest in the Poland-Belarus border is considered the best preserved temperate forest in Europe. Save the bear, the European mink and the extinct aurochs, the forest's current fauna is the same it was in Roman times. Alan Wiseman, author of The World Without Us, compared his visit to Bialowieza to stepping in one of the Grimm brothers tales.
- Several Islands that were mined during the Falklands War are giant penguin sanctuaries. Anything that could harm them sets off the mines and blows up.