The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm of a very mixed mind about this book. I'll break it down by what I liked and what I didn't like.
What I liked:
Weisman covers the past, present and future of the planet- if in the future humans are extinct.
He gives a lot of background about how humans have damaged the planet and caused the extinction of species from our very earliest history.
Weisman does a pretty good job of highlighting how complicated and awful the things that we're doing to the planet are. These things are harming animals (and presumably us) and might ultimately lead to the extinction or aggressive evolution of many species.
In the future, our extinction, whether or not caused by this damage (probably not- our extinction is unlikely because we're basically cockroaches of survival) will not fully heal the planet. In fact, some of what we do is monitor our own damage by fighting invasive species or keeping the nuclear facilities/gas refineries/other scary factories from melting down.
He also discusses the benefits of population control.
What I didn't like:
This book is super disorganized and boring. The three parts and chapter headings claim a certain organization that doesn't hold up as you read. The effect is that you feel like you're just reading a bunch of examples of awful things we've done, and how this might play out in a humanless future. I think this is because the idea for the book/title was a gimmick for sales.
His discussion of population control is very irreverent and doesn't seem very professional.
Here's an important thing he didn't discuss. What if we don't all disappear (unlikely) and in a more plausible situation a huge number of us die of a modern epidemic. How do the survivors take care of and protect all the nuclear facilities/gas refineries/other scary factories from melting down? How do we avoid some terrifying doomsday political takeover? How do we simply deal with all the bodies and trash that's left behind?
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