This is a non-fiction book about what would happen to the environment if all humanity suddenly disappeared. What would happen to all of our structures, the animals, the plants, and the oceans? For the most part, good things! Well, not the structures. Most of them will fall apart, and fairly quickly without human maintenance. Without people and power, the NYC subway system is a goner in a few days. But the forests will come back, although perhaps not the same. We’ve introduced many invasive species that will have long-lasting impacts on their surroundings. There are places where you can see what happens on a smaller scale when people leave, such as a beach in Cyprus, Chernobyl, and the Korean DMZ. And our plastic and chemical pollution will live on for thousands of years, unfortunately.
There is a lot of research and history in this book. In order to look forward, we have to look back. Weisman looks to history to see how humans changed the world around them, such as with the extinction of large mammals everywhere except Africa. Some of the timeframes he talks about span millenia.
Weisman talked to a lot of experts and got a lot of really great information. But some of it is a little dry. I listened to this on audiobook in my car, and found I didn’t have to always pay strict attention. If I missed something for a few minutes, he was probably still on the same topic when I tuned back in. A lot of the information was interesting, but I’m not sure how much I retained. I was listening for entertainment, so that’s fine, but sometimes I zoned out to the droning. Am I glad I listened to it? Sure! Will I listen to it again? Probably not. But it was a good book to listen to in the car! (Also, there was a full 20 minutes of thank you’s and acknowledgements at the end, so you can skip those if you want!)
This fulfills the CBR12 Bingo square of “Green.” I mean, there’s green on a good portion of the cover, and it’s about the environment and stuff…