The World Without Us Paperback – 3 Apr 2008
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"Compelling ... jammed packed with fascinating "what ifs"" (Guardian)
"Flesh-creepingly good fun . . . Food for thought" (Independent)
"A powerful vision of a possible future for the earth" (Sunday Times)
"A hugely enjoyable and thought-provoking book" (Scotsman)
"A wonderful idea... The World Without Us is a hugely enjoyable and thought-provoking book... Terrific" (Evening Standard)
A FASCINATING GLIMPSE OF THE EARTH IF HUMANS VANISHED TODAYSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The great metropolis of New York City is one focal point in this account. Once traversed by 40 meandering streams feeding the ocean and river, the island, but for its striking Central Park, is now "tamed". Massive buildings line its many kilometres of pavement, and the storm sewer systems have replaced Nature's waterways. Yet, those rivulets persist, demanding flow rights. The loss of humanity would shut down the 753 pumps that keep the subway tunnels relatively dry. The streams, assisted by the bordering river and ocean would quickly inundate them. The bridges' streams of vehicles haven't stopped the return of wildlife to the city, and human abandonment would accelerate the process. Botany's realm, however, may never recover its original domain. Too many human-introduced species have an irresistible foothold. Those tall buildings bracketing the asphalt ribbons would also ultimately break down, providing havens for birds and small mammals before succumbing.Read more ›
One of the early sections in this book visits New York city and the team of men who are responsible for the never-ending pumping out of water from under the city, which constantly threatens to fill subways. The author then goes through the surprisingly rapid decline of the city. If you've ever stood in Manhattan gazing along the straight avenues and streets, and were amazed at the scale of construction, then this section will chill you right through. Later in the book, the author desctribes an abandoned seaside town in Cyrpus and it's decline in decrepitude.
A common thread thoughout the book concerns our effect on the environment and how long it would take for the Earth to correct itself if we were to depart. What about the ozone-damaging chemicals we pump out into the atmosphere, or the heavy metals and radioactive materials we dump and store without regard for future generations. The U.S. has silos of chock-full radioactive materials, surrounded by hundreds of warning signs. Due to the fact that human languages can mutate beyond recognition over just a few hundred years, the warning signs had to be desinged to be comprehensible to anyone who came across them. The author visits oil-refining facilities in Texas to examine what would happen there should humans suddenly stop running these facilities. A trip to Chernobyl is used to illustrate what could happen in the aftermath of a nuclear containment failure.
By examining the rise of humanity from the depths of Africa, the author looks for the most suitable candidate to suceed us once we depart.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great insight into ecological mechanics, and highlights a lot of preservation efforts I had no knowledge about. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jolly Old D
One of the most interesting books I have ever read. Beautifully written with a charming and easy writing style; you will find yourself lost in the terrifying and spectacular vision... Read morePublished 3 months ago by P. J. Angell
This is a much more wide-ranging book than you might expect. Although there are a couple of chapters (which I loved) detailing how exactly many human constructions would decay and... Read morePublished 4 months ago by S Litton
Wonderful book; my only negative point was that (as with so many other books of this kind) author tries way too hard to add "the human dimension" by overly-focusing on... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Matt Bedford