Earth Day: The World Without Us

14 Apr


I can’t quite recall how The World Without Us wandered into my collection, but it has languished on my shelves for over a year while I was distracted by other books. When April and I agreed to do a literary themed Earth Day I decided to pick it up to see if I wanted to review it. Within a few pages I was totally sucked in. The giant stack of books flowing in from the library that I needed to look at for other Earth Day posts was ignored so I could finish it.

The central question of the book is brilliantly simple: “What would the world look like if humans disappeared?” The answer is surprisingly complex.

In trying to answer it Weisman takes the reader to some surprising and fascinating places. Through his descriptions we are transported across the globe and through time. From the subways and skyscrapers of New York to see how long our buildings would last, to our evolution in Africa to see what might replace us. We witness nature reclaiming abandoned cities in war torn Cyprus and explore the long lasting underground cities of Cappadocia. We learn about the lasting legacy of plastic, deep space probes, dioxins, nuclear waste, radio waves, and the world’s most interesting pile of sloth poop. It’s not always a happy-go-lucky journey, but it is fantastic. The book is well paced, and manages to be informative without information overload.

Hopefully I’ve raved about this book enough to make you want to read it. Make sure you learn from my mistake and put it at the top of your “to be read” pile.


Read Green 5


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