Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Book Review: The World Without Us

I just finished reading Alan Weisman's The World Without Us. He imagines what would happen to Earth if humans were to all the sudden disappear completely. The outdoorsy misanthrope in me has always loved stuff like this (28 Days Later, Children of Men, that line from Fight Club where Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) talks about drying venison in the empty lanes of an abandoned superhighway, and I Am Legend had it not sucked) so I was really looking forward to this book. I of course knew that it would be totally different than any of those movies because it's all about the environment, but still.

I wasn't amazed, but it was worth reading. There were discussions of New York City subways filling with water and the future of the plains of Africa (complete with a long history of human evolution) that didn't really do it for me, but discussions of the Texas-sized pile of trash in the middle of the Pacific, how long all our plastic crap will last, how all our nuclear plants will melt down, what messages the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 satellites are carrying in case intelligent life ever finds them, and what has happened in places like the Korean DMZ, part of Cyprus, and Chernobyl since humans abandoned them, that were pretty interesting.

Also, it was pretty interesting to learn about the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

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