drifted off and left it alone
Allen Weisman’s book The World Without Us is a brilliant theoretical experiment – the ultimate ’what if’ scenario: What would the Earth look like now if humans ceased to exist, what would happen on Earth?
This is not a science-fiction novel, but rather a thoroughly researched, scientifically grounded account of how the environment – natural and built – would change if we were to encounter an apocalyptic scenario: if humans no longer inhabited the planet.
He calls humans the most narcissistic species and imagines us being eradicated on account of our overly indulgent lifestyles.
The book recounts the fate of the environment using research from top engineering, biology, geology and archeology experts to provide a radical, and ultimately a hypothetical outcome.
This is an environmental scenario, what the New York Times calls the “morbidly fascinating nonfiction eco-thriller”, that is meant to save us from ourselves: complete collapse of the civilization in order to give the planet a chance to replenish itself, without people as the burden.
Weisman maps out the eventual – and very swift, in fact – consequences of nature taking its intended course if there were no humans to control, interfere with, or maintain the man-made system. His research includes immediate and long-term outcomes, from the flooding of streets to nuclear plants meltdowns, and eventually forests and grasslands reclaiming their territories. Basically, nature recovering its value and cleaning up our mess.
Man-made influence on the industrial world has been profound and has been going on long before the industrial age, which is when it accelerated, according to environmental historians. Weisman predicts that at the rate of his alternative scenario, only after about 100,000 years, CO2 levels would return to prehuman levels. This is how bad the situation is.
Look at it as an environmental wake-up call in our rapid global warming race, which would drastically transform the world as we know it.
On a similar subject, a Science History Channel documentary Life After People provides a visual account using special effects, image manipulation, and context-placement. The series reveals surprising details about real locations and their significance, and what would happen to them when, not if, the environmental tolls take over: corrosion from rain, rain floods, excessive humidity, cities getting swept in snow avalanches, or rat and scavenging insect invasions.
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