September 2, 2014
The World Without Us
In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity’s impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth if humans suddenly disappeared. He explains that the infrastructure placed on Earth would collapse and vanish without any human presence. He explained how everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock. Some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left and how plastic, bronze sculptures, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.
Just days after humans disappear there was a big flood in New York. It only made sense to have this tragedy happen in such an iconic state where there are many memorable sites. Subways began eroding the cities foundations. The subways begin to erode because since there are few trees and roots to soak up the water it all just flows to the subways. The sewers clog with garbage and the water table levels get messed up and the water has to be pumped out. Later in the chapter it talks about how if humans weren’t around that if one disaster occurs, such as pipes freezing then thawing, it would lead to a chain of events that would cause the buildings and infrastructure to deteriorate and be taken over by nature. Plants have stopped regenerating and are not as healthy as they were in the mid 1950’s. The only way to get the garden back to its original state is for the Bronx to change as well. Some trees may grow back if they are starting to wither away but they will also have to manage to live with the other imported trees from all over the world.
In the book, Weisman stated alarming fact that a glacier is due to flatten Manhattan any day now since the last glacier left eleven thousand years ago. Weisman brings up a good point stating “if we continue to increase our carbon emissions,...
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