epub ✓ The World Without Us ï Alan Weisman
Ler 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?
Alan Weisman ï The World Without Us book
The World Without UsWithout Us reveals how just days after humans disappear floods in New York's subways would start eroding the city's foundations and how as the world's cities crumble asphalt jungles would give way to real ones It describes the distinct ways that organic and chemically treated farms would revert to wild how billions birds would flourish and how cockroaches in unheated cities would perish without us Drawing on the expertise of engineers atmospheric scientists art conservators zoologists oil refiners marine biologists astrophysicists religious leaders from rabbis to the Dalai Lama and paleontologists who describe a prehuman world inhabited by megafauna like giant sloths that stood tal In The World Without Us Alan Weisman attempts to answer the uestion of what would happen to the earth if for whatever reason humans were to completely disappear tomorrow While it’s a fascinating premise one that Weisman undoubtedly put a lot of time and effort into the execution falters Inevitably it’s hard to stretch what was initially a short essay into a full book but that’s how The World Without Us got going Structurally the book is broken down into four parts with chapters discussing what would happen to the earth both in the manmade and in what man has altered in nature including cities power plants nukes art farmland bacteria animals and creatures of the ocean In reading this book it’s clear that Weisman realized that a that it’s strange to read a book without any people; and b in order to predict the future you must delve into the past As a result of this The World Without Us is about history than the future Weisman interviews a number of people from all walks of lifeviewpoints and there’s a fat bibliography at the end He strives for accuracy in his predictions even though it’s based on what we currently know It’s like when you see a science fiction movie all the future computers are still based on the technology we have available now Though Weisman succeeds in not being preachy the theories he presents are still debatable There are a few areas I’d argue with him and since time has gone by since publication recent history is contending to debate with his theories too In certain parts though as with the section on Galveston TX hit with a massive hurricane in 1900 then again in 2008 a year after the book was published Weisman’s assertions remain true So what’s the problem then? The World Without Us has a great premise is well researched and historically accurate depending on who you ask today but it’s not all that interesting It seems like Alan Weisman realized it too as the hook chapters to each part are far interesting than the remainder of each section save the terse final part which is fairly solid throughout You get drawn in by a few fascinating chapters then you have to wade through the meandering text until the next hook spikes interest I’d find my mind wandering wishing it were of dystopian fiction based on environmentalism Maybe that means I should just stay away from nonfiction science books where inevitably after enough time has gone by and enough new data has popped up it’ll be laughed off the shelf Two stars Barely