File Size: 2071 KB
Print Length: 348 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (July 10, 2007)
Publication Date: July 10, 2007
Although Alan Weisman acknowledges that it is unlikely that our species will quickly perish, he still addresses this question in The World Without Us all in order to more closely examine our ecological impact. Weisman examines human being impact ranging from megafauna extinctions to genetically revised plants and from the altered composition of the atmosphere to what will happen to cities and elemental plants when we leave. Unlike many authors that address human environmental impact, Weisman takes a remarkably positive approach. Perhaps our impact may well not be as lasting as many view it to be. In many of these chapters he does note that some things lasts long after we have long gone. Although, this does not appear to be his main focus.
The book is well-written, captivating, and definitely gives hope that Homo sapiens have not forever destroyed many aspects on the planet. Typically the atmosphere can come back to normal despite the holes we certainly have contributed to in the ozone layer. Forests can thrive even after we come through and out of place many species and collect many trees. Despite these positive points, Weisman does some things that lasts longer, but I find that Weisman fails to emphasize the fact that our impact will forever alter the world. The species who have long gone extinct can not come back again. Yes, extinction is a natural part of growth for the world, but many species have long gone extinct mostly because of humans. At the same time I believe of the fact that we must have an impact. There is no way for a species to have no impact. Every species on the earth influences many others both directly and indirectly.
One example of when Weisman does not work out to bring concern is when he talks of the impact our manufacturing of plastics is having. We are not seeing plastics biodegrade. There is wish that something will develop the ability to degrade the plastics, but in the meantime it will continue to kill all sorts of wildlife as they ingest it. The plastic we use for tires also has yet to find something that can degrade it. Both plastic and plastic will likely be around long after Homo sapiens have passed away and continue to affect the world we left behind. Yet, after reading these segments by Weisman, We did not feel extremely compelled to minimize my use of plastic or rubber. Weisman would not seem to be to be rallying people against their negative ecological impact. Since humans will likely be around a long time, we must work on lessening the impact that we have, and I found that Weisman would not emphasize this as I think he should.
Comparing Weisman to George Perkins Marsh, we find some things that at least appear to confront each other. Marsh investigates the balance that is a key part of nature. As humans make use of resources, they will not come back again as they were. Nature is not able to bring itself back to where it was. Weisman seems to find that nature can reflect what it was in earlier times, and he appears to find this acceptable. Perhaps this is we can ever before expect. It may be best that nature is not exactly as it was. It really is ever changing and adjusting combined with all its interconnected parts. Whatever the result, Weisman locates hope where many fail to.
Weisman also alludes to human's desire to be kept in mind. We've sent off indicators to try and contact other intelligent life, and that we do our best to preserve the body that inevitably decay anyways. If you think about it, we all have a desire to be remembered by others, to do something which will have impact that will outlast our bodies. However, we want to make certain that what we leave would not doom the earth that housed us for so long., Typically the poetic musings of historic Chinese poet Li-Tai-Po have long acknowledged the frailty of the existence of human beings on the Earth they inhabit. “The firmament is blue forever, ” he writes, “and the Earth will long stand firm and bloom in spring. But, man, how long can you live? ” It is with these words that Alan Weisman clears The World Without Us all, an inventive science-fiction search of a global where humans have, in fact , stopped living. Within its pages, Weisman offers much more than the typical ecological doomsday unsupported claims. Rather, through hunt for historical events, discussion of present actions, and study of future possibilities, The Globe Without Us invites viewers into a mysterious future in which the blue firmament and Earth stands firm without humans on its surface. And, perhaps, it’s more hopeful than one might think.
A large portion of Weisman’s exposition is centered on historical analysis showing how humans, since their evolution in East Africa, have been beings of impact on the Earth they inhabit. It is undeniable. Weisman explores how early humans wiped out there massive large fauna populations across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. We removed forests and burned remember to brush and created grassland. All of us crossed the globe and left no land bulk untouched by our constant presence, “by definition we were the alien invader” (310).
With this in thoughts, then, Weisman investigates our current actions – carbon dioxide emissions, geologic alteration, elemental presence, plastic production, farms and war – to try to understand our in the modern age group we continue to impact the Earth and its procedures. He speaks with leading experts to explore how our various actions are greatly altering the face of the planet earth as it always has been. With all of this human-created transformation of the Planet, it’s difficult to assume that the Earth can stand firm in the face of such deep destruction and apathy for its wellbeing. Weisman, however, sees the problem differently. He acknowledges the fantastic impact the Homo sapien species has wracked on the land, but he also argues that nature will continue to evolve and adapt to fit our actions. After all, Weisman declares, “Change is the hallmark of nature. Practically nothing remains the same” (161).
Weisman then goes on to explore what this change would imply for our world if we were to disappear from it. Making use of the matters he or she discussed historically and currently, Weisman describes a new world where plants early spring up from sidewalk cracks, houses degrade, and fauna re-habitat their old niches. It will be a slow process of nature creeping up on our structures, but Weisman believes it will happen. The Planet will bounce back, a little worse for the wear, but nevertheless changing, standing firm, and blossoming in spring.
To me, the book seems sprinkled with rich hope for this place we call home. I’m used to a fair dose of depressive statistics when evaluating ecological issues, but Weisman’s creativity leaves a sweeter flavor in my mouth. Descriptions of the regeneration of wilderness within the Korean Demilitarized Zone and across the empty quiet of Chernobyl’s ruins demonstrated that even our most broken activities of the past are not past the point of redemption. In the no-man’s-land of East Asia, species are bounding in to fill the area Korea leaves vacant, creating refuges in the wake of the brutal and unresolved conflict. Skylarks, lilacs, and bison have returned to Chernobyl, dwelling among the radioactive structures we left behind to rot. Though our impact is grave, in many cases, Weisman demonstrates that nature is perfectly able to adapt, which is both an inspiring and humbling. It seems to me that environmentalism needs more reminders of this – of our fantastic impact, but also our vast smallness on the surface of an Planet that has long outlived our presence. Weisman provides this alongside a reasonable dose of hope: perhaps restoration is not out-of-reach. While his historical information brings us into genuine recognition of the destructive beings we have recently been, his future prognosis attracts us into hopeful enjoyment of who we can be and how we can nurture creation into its own healing. Because Li-Tai-Po wrote, The planet earth will long stand firm and bloom in spring, if man is here. Weisman explores this with the premise of what the world will look like if we are gone, motivating us to live on better while we’re still here.
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