Monday, September 10, 2007

The World Without Us

Author Alan Weisman has compiled a thoroughly researched examination of what would happen to the planet if, for whatever reason, humans were to simply vanish tomorrow. He studied how long our buildings might last, what ecosystems might do, whether various animal species could bounce back, and so on. The result is a strange, yet compelling mix of worry that our legacy could be so short-lived and relief that our damage could perhaps be undone. Some of the ideas he touches on -- such as the notion that ancient humans were the cause of mass extinctions among large North American mammals -- don't seem quite compelling. Still, the aspects of geologic, anthropological and archaeological history (for example, the immense underground cities of ancient Turkey) are fascinating. All in all it's an amazingly thought-provoking book.


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