Friday, February 15, 2013

The World Without Us

[July 2009] The book starts with a scenario where humans are suddenly removed from the earth, and then details how "mankind's" world will revert back to nature. Basic descriptions of how a typical suburban house will gradually be subsumed by local vegetation give way to more detailed descriptions of places such as Manhattan and Houston. The author also takes us down to other places including a abandoned resort in Cyprus and a lost Mayan civilization. In parallel, he describes the 'past world' before humans, including details of how even the 'pre-civilation' humans made significant changes to the native environment.

The tails of the post-human state of nature are all interesting, though at times the author tends to dwell too much on areas that excite him. However, the biggest downfall of the book is the conclusion where he describes what we should "do about it" and brings out groups like the voluntary human extinction movement. While some of the conclusions and "plans" can be interesting, they move off the main thesis and are not as well supported as the core argument.

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