Review of The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Rating **** 1/2
My wife picked this book up at the library. When I saw what it was about I stole it from her. This isn't Will Smith doing his thing against zombies in I Am Legend. This book looks at what would happen to the earth if humans were suddenly to vanish.
From this interesting concept the author shows how we humans are damaging the environment. In some cases, the results of our negligence will take millions of years for the earth to rebound to its natural state. In other cases it may never recover.
This book is a good companion piece to the following books and films: The Omnivore's Dilemma, The 11th Hour, Who Killed The Electric Car, and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. I feel much more environmentally aware after reading and watching these books and films.
It's an accepted fact that the human race will undoubtedly go extinct at some point in the distant future, just as all other species before us. The when and how is not known; perhaps when the sun engulfs the earth. Other possible scenarios have large portions of the population dying off rather quickly but with some survivors. The author gives the example that even if 99.9 % of the human race is killed off that would still leave several hundred thousand survivors.
If I'm lucky enough to be among the survivors, I intend to head for Montana. Because the heavily populated areas of the world are not going to recover very quickly. We've simply done too much damage. The one place you definitely do not want to be is Houston, Texas. The description of what happens to the oil refineries and pipelines after we're gone is not a pretty sight.
The many stories the author uses to illuminate his points are fascinating in their own right. From the luxury hotel that was left vacant for several years, to the demilitarized zone in Korea, to plots of soil untouched by human intervention and pesticides, each example flows effectively with the overall narrative.
Everyone should read this book. It will give you a new perspective on how your actions affect the environment for possibly thousands of years after you're gone.
Definitely add this book to your list.