Over spring break I watched a movie called “The Dead Don’t Die” with my family. The movie starts out with Bill Murray’s and Adam Driver’s characters talking about how strange everything is, and is promptly followed up with an in-movie news channel featuring a debate on whether polar fracking is good or bad. In the movie, a growing global population has given rise to increasing energy demands, which in turn has driven energy companies to start During this debate, the fracking is connected with a change in the Earth’s axial tilt. Subsequently, the characters remark at how strange it is that the sun is still high in the sky despite it being 10 pm at night. When night does eventually come, the moon is shown to have an ominous aura (that is later hinted to be the reason for the dead to be coming back to life.)
At this point in the movie, I had to pause the movie and explain to my family that the earth is off its axis would, in fact, alter our day/night cycle. But more than this, a change in the Earth’s axial tilt would lead to a severe change in global climate, and could possibly lead to other terrible outcomes.
While the movie focuses on the rising of the dead, it could have taken a closer look at something that we are facing here in reality, which is the re-emergence of dormant contagions. In 2016, there was an anthrax outbreak due to global rising in temperatures where it was called a “zombie bacteria.” There are some things residing in permafrost that need to stay there, especially given our current circumstances. A study in 2014 discovered that a 30,000-year-old virus can be warmed up and still be infectious. Given these studies, it’s actually possible that a “zombie” outbreak could occur if the earth were to be thrown off its axial tilt of 23.5 degrees. So even though the Earth isn’t exactly “level” relative to our orbit with the sun, we can be thankful that it’s a little crooked.