Text ´ The World Without Us Õ Alan Weisman
A penetrating page turning tour of a post human EarthIn The World Without Us Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to uestions of humanity's impact on the planet he asks us to envision our Earth without us In this far reaching narrative Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic bronze sculpture radio waves and some man made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe The World Yeah what you've heard about this book is true It really is very good very scary very depressing AND it's written entirely in Spurdlish a language I just made up that consists only of the letter 't' If it only enabled fire ants to slowly liuify Dick Cheney it would be perfect Okay I'm kidding about the Spurdlish but yeah great book Weisman doesn't just speculate on what happens to your house or the NYC subways or the pyramids once we've all been raptured off to Heaven Hint That expensive kitchen remodel you did? Hopefully it's in a color that raptors enjoy The book is really about what we're doing to the planet and how long our nefarious activities will outlast us The news is both good and bad nature tends to adapt to just about anything think wildflowers blooming in Chernobyl but there are still some future scenarios that are pretty hellish Yes More hellish than Boca Raton Florida Between the PCBs the fluorocarbons the dioxins the plutonium the global warming and those uncounted zillions of plastic microparticles now gutting everything from krill to blue whales the planet's in for a rough ride for a while even if aliens appear in the skies tomorrow and suck us up through the galaxy's biggest strawWeisman writes uite well and the panoply of places he visits is worth the price of admission reserves in Kenya the Korean DMZ the Panama Canal the American Southwest Turkish caves Pacific atolls etc etc I'm glad someone could write about them before they're swallowed up in Pepsi bottles and plastic bags It's tempting when reading the book to take the long view of things that the Earth endures and that if we disappear from our own foolishness it's no great loss In fact it's hard to escape the conclusion that we deserve extinction for all that we're doing And yet that seems to me to be both simplistic and disingenuous For all the evil we've done through our greed our cruelty and our shortsightedness we have produced some real marvels whether it's the Parthenon or a newborn child We are a remarkable species perhaps unreplaceable and it will be a loss to the biosphere when we go Of course in the end all things must pass as some Liverpool philosopher once put it but the end is not yet here and there's still much to enjoy Do those who wish an end to humanity really believe what they say? Who amongst them is willing to commit suicide for the sake of a better planet? Let's hope that we gain the wisdom to enjoy it all and preserve it for a better future
Alan Weisman Õ The World Without Us Mobi
The World Without UsLer than mammoths Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today if not for usFrom places already devoid of humans a last fragment of primeval European forest; the Korean DMZ; Chernobyl Weisman reveals Earth's tremendous capacity for self healing As he shows which human devastations are indelible and which examples of our highest art and culture would endure longest Weisman's narrative ultimately drives toward a radical but persuasive solution that needn't depend on our demise It is narrative nonfiction at its finest and in posing an irresistible concept with both gravity and a highly readable touch it looks deeply at our effects on the planet in a way that no other book h Well written and researched exploration of the premise of how the world would change if humans suddenly disappeared from the earth This ostensible absurd premise turns out to be a very useful lens to view many important environmental and ecological issues Several chapters such as those on plastics and nuclear waste are distressing as their impacts are incalculably long lasting The ones on how fast pockets of biodiversity might spread or how uickly highly stressed areas might recover are reassuring Weisman gets a lot of help from an army of experts and does well to make the focus of each chapter come from the first person perspectives of relevant field or laboratory scientists The diverse riffs on urban sites include an abandoned city in the Turkish zone of Cyprus which after a few decades appears to be disassembled surprisingly fast by the forces of nature The virtual disappearance of great Mayan cities into the jungle is another fascinating example of the ephemeral uality of civilizations The human caused extinctions of so many species are obviously not reversible but the fate of domestic animals agricultural species and alien species introduced far and wide make great subjects of his creative speculations from historical and evolutionary perspectives A consideration of what human made structures will last the longest turns up some surprises The Panama Canal apparently won't last long but many structures made of stone bronze or ceramic will persist until crumbled by another ice age or tectonic folding A nice coda to the book is a reflection on how the examples of human literature and music sent out of the solar system with the Voyager spacecraft will likely outlast the sunUpdate Weisman is back on the job pondering Earth's fate with a follow up that puts people back into the picture I look forward to reading his account of the challenge of overpopulation of our planet published at the end of Sept 2013 Our Last Best Hope for a Future on Earth?