The world without us

I recently finished reading a most interesting book of what Mankind would leave behind once it has disappeared from the surface of the Earth. This 300-page thought experiment was written by the American journalist Alan Weisman.

Even if cities like New York will disappear as buildings crumble and as plants of all sorts grow, Nature will have a hard time digesting and erasing from the surface our various pollutions and waste of all kinds.

The legacy we will leave behind us may dramatically alter our planet unless we take actions to decrease, cut and slash our environmental footprint…

This will have to start with recycling all our previous waste : the plastic in our oceans, the radioactive leftovers – luckily we already have solutions – and so on. The effects of the petrochemistry are also literally daunting.

Each of these – plastics, petrochemistry and nuclear waste – are the topics of their dedicated chapter. Some facts and figures are really scary and make you think of our addiction to stuff.

Because, in the end what will pollute Earth tomorrow long after we are gone is polluting our lives now. It’s high time we address the issue.

I found this book particularly interesting as Alan Weisman does a similar jobs to environmentalists but doesn’t preach. He indeed only assesses the various aspect of our modern societies and how this would impact our planet. Only facts, no judgments…

The author also interests himself – and thus us – about past societies who disappeared like the Mayas, and this even if they were the most advanced civilization at its time.

It appears that they shared before their collapse many traits with our current society. (For more, please read Collapse, by Jared Diamond. It is my all-time favorite book)

Concerning biodiversity our time on Earth will have implications after our disappearance. Indeed, Homo Sapiens wiped out of the surface of the Earth many species that filled a particular position in the food chain.

I give this book a 16 out of 20 grade.

It is worth your time and you will come enlightened by it. Moreover it is readable very fast as it is written in a light, easy to read style.

Today’s post is dedicated to Nadine, who waited for this review a little more that she should have.
Thanks for her encouragements.

1 thought on “The world without us”

  1. suddenly my guilty footprint feels terminally large, although as a consumer, i rank somewhere near a Russian peasant or a Quichoa Indian.
    The World Without Us, seems a welcome rest from incessant ecological abuse. however i maintain some optimism about the power of economics to tame the growth frenzy and spur some necessary ingenuity in alternative energy.
    as soon as man realizes that he has to share the bounty, politicians will follow…people will suffer the inevitable conflicts over corporate water, food and chemical dominion..but at some point–revolutionary reasoning will intervene–
    just before devastating biodiversity and survival tip to extinction..

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