Alan Weisman in The World Without Us poses a post-apocalyptic scenario where all humans have gone. Weisman, to write this book, traveled all around the world, interviewing biologists, scientists, archeologists, and more to inquire about what would happen. In his sketch of the days and years and centuries following our leave, Weisman touches with extreme detail how our worlds — our cities, buildings, roads, farms– will quite slowly revert back to the nature present before it.
Despite a relatively quick regrowth of the forests and jungles in consume man-made things, there will be some remnants of man-kind that will stick on Earth for a far greater amount of time. Plastics, the faces of mount Rushmore, and atomic waste will take their place among the regrown trees and shrubs.
New York Times Book Review points out the all important question: “Could we ourselves really simply fly away, leaving the rest of nature to slowly clean up our mess?” How do we combat the exponentially growing population? By posing a dramatic, human-less world, Weisman forces the reader to search for a solution.
Overall, I really appreciated this book and all its interesting facts — facts that I wouldn’t have thought about when thinking about a human-less world. Weisman goes into incredible detail, which at times can feel overbearing, but more often than not picks at the brain with new ways to think about the world and mankind’s place and impact. Overall, this read is incredibly interesting and takes a common book purpose — to encourage humans to change their ruinous ways — but adds a magical, fictional spin that makes the book much more engaging.