When I first picked up The World Without Us (by Alan Weisman), I thought it would be another one of those global warming books that shoves a political agenda down your throat. As I read it, I quickly learned that this book was so much more than that. Yes, it obviously discusses many things humans are doing to harm the earth, but what it primarily does is break down how societies manmade infrastructures will degenerate ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred years and more after there are no longer humans to maintain them. It discusses the fate of many domesticated animals, both pets and livestock. And it discusses how the world looked before human expansion.
It really opens your eyes to just how long some synthesized materials can last in our environment and just how quickly things can fall apart. It is an inspirational book for change in how we view the world around us, Mother Nature, and the environment. We may think that humans are all-powerful, forever stamping the planet with our brand, but nature…uh…finds a way (to steal a line from one of my favorite movies, Jurassic Park). Nature has a miraculous ability to heal itself, as long as we make changes before it is too late. In some cases, it may already be too late for things to be as they were before, but taking action now can certainly help.
This book was a wonderful, quick read. It was easy to understand, and both liberally and conservatively minded people can enjoy this book without feeling like someone else’s radical opinion is being forced on them. It sticks primarily to scientific facts and uses vivid words to paint and image in your mind of a planet in a time without humans.