Matthew's Reviews > The World Without Us

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
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's review
Sep 29, 07

bookshelves: essaysjournalism
Recommended for: Literally, everyone. Even, or perhaps especially, if they're too stupid to get it.
Read in August, 2007

I had to stop several times in the middle of reading this, to digest the chapters and pick something lighter up temporarily. Its not depressing in the way a sad novel is, but its upsetting in the way it really drives home how much humans have fucked the world up. The sacry thing about the book is that when reading about how humans have dissappeared and nature reclaims her property, I'm not thinking 'how terrible', I'm thinking 'how wonderful'. I've pulled back from the brink of thinking of humans as a disease and better off not existing - we are, after all, probably still the most imaginative and alive organisms on this planet', and so much that is beautiful would not exist or be thought of as beautiful without us - but still, if there is a way to eliminate a large proportion of humans in an ethical, painless manner (which will never happen), I'd vote for it.

About the book itself: its extremely well researched. Weisman delves into many scientific areas and talks to extremely interesting and truly specialized people to explore questions ranging from: what happens to major cities like New York, to what happens to wildlife like birds or farm animals, what happens to nuclear plants and waste, what happens to our artifacts, like art, plastics, heavy metals, piping systems, bridges, petrochemical plants, etc, etc.

The scariest fact: did you know that the wind and waves erode plastic like it does rocks, ie, into little bits of silicon or plastic sand? As the bits get smaller and smaller, they get ingested by smaller and smaller organisms. Birds were found dead with enough plastic accumulated in their intestines that equates to several pounds if in a human being. Staggeringly, there is six times more plastic in the oceans, by weight, than plankton.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Shannon (Giraffe Days) I just finished it, and I totally agree with you. I felt the same way, reading it. It took me about a month because I kept reading lighter books at the same time. But worth it - oh, so worth it!

Konstantin "but still, if there is a way to eliminate a large proportion of humans in an ethical, painless manner"

that's a scary premise.

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