The World Without Us (英語) ハードカバー – 2007/7/10
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National bestseller, and Finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle
A penetrating, page-turning, groundbreaking tour of Earth without people
Most books about the environment build on dire threats warning of the possible extinction of humanity. Alan Weisman avoids frightening off readers by disarmingly wiping out our species in the first few pages of this remarkable book. He then continues with an astounding depiction of how Earth will fare once we’re no longer around.
The World Without Us is a one-of-a-kind book that sweeps through time from the moment of humanity’s future extinction to millions of years into the future. Drawing on interviews with experts and on real examples of places in the world that have already been abandoned by humans—Chernobyl, the Korean DMZ and an ancient Polish forest—Weisman shows both the shocking impact we’ve had on our planet and how impermanent our footprint actually is.--このテキストは、絶版本またはこのタイトルには設定されていない版型に関連付けられています。
“The book boasts an amazingly imaginative conceit that manages to tap into underlying fears and subtly inspire us to consider our interaction with the planet.” (Washington Post)
“An excellent springboard for an often fascinating look at our planet’s biology and ecology.” (Toronto Star)
“[No] end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story . . . is more audacious or interesting than Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us.” (Boston Globe)
“A refreshing, and oddly hopeful, look at the fate of the environment.” (BusinessWeek)
“Alan Weisman has produced, if not a bible, at least a Book of Revelation.” (Newsweek)
“Grandly entertaining.” (Time)
“Brilliantly creative. An audacious intellectual adventure. His thought experiment is so intellectually fascinating, so oddly playful, that it escapes categorizing and clichés.” (Salon.com)
“The World Without Us gradually reveals itself to be one of the most satisfying environmental books of recent memory, one devoid of self-righteousness, alarmism or tiresome doomsaying ” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“An astonishing mass of reportage that envisions a world suddenly bereft of humans.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“One of the most ambitious ‘thought experiments’ ever.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)
“This is perhaps my favorite book this year. At once the most harrowing and, oddly, comforting book on the environment that I’ve read in many years.” (Louise Ehrdrich, author of Love Medicine and The Birchbark House)
“I don’t think I’ve read a better non-fiction book this year.” (Lev Grossman, Time Book Critic)
“This is one of the grandest thought experiments of our time, a tremendous feat of imaginative reporting!” (Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature)
“Fascinating, mordant, deeply intelligent, and beautifully written.” (James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency)
“Alan Weisman offers us a sketch of where we stand as a species that is both illuminating and terrifying. His tone is conversational and his affection for both Earth and humanity transparent.” (Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams)
“The imaginative power of The World Without Us is compulsive and nearly hypnotic.” (Charles Wohlforth, author of L.A. Times Book Prize-winning The Whale and the Supercomputer)
“The scope is breathtaking...the clarity and lyricism of the writing itself left me with repeated gasps of recognition about the human condition. I believe it will be a classic.” (Dennis Covington, author of Salvation on Sand Mountain) --このテキストは、絶版本またはこのタイトルには設定されていない版型に関連付けられています。
And Weisman does explain just that. But he does so in the first few chapters. The remain 15 or so go into details about Earth without man you never would have expected. He examines places like Cyprus and the Korean DMZ, which people haven't touched in ages. He takes you places you never would have expected. Each chapter is a different story, a different location, a different analysis. Each could be it's own article.
This book ends up teaching a lot about human history as well. I certainly didn't expect that.
This book is an interesting read, a learning adventure across the globe. As cheesy as it sounds, its a great ride.
So, Weisman takes us on a tour from the mass extinction of the passenger pigeon in North American, to the Moa bird in New Zealand. We look at climate change, nuclear waste, and plastic islands in the oceans. It is a depressing catalog.
The only bright spot is that, to quote Jurassic Park, nature finds a way. Animals, plants and birds no longer found in Korea thrive in the depopulated DMZ. In the quarantine zone around Chernobyl, wolves have returned, along with moose, deer, badger, and horses.
The take away, the world will do fine without us. In fact, it might just thrive.
Although Alan Weisman acknowledges that it is unlikely that our species will quickly perish, he still addresses this question in The World Without Us in order to more closely examine our environmental impact. Weisman examines human impact ranging from megafauna extinctions to genetically modified plants and from the altered composition of the atmosphere to what will happen to cities and nuclear plants when we leave. Unlike many authors that address human environmental impact, Weisman takes a surprisingly positive approach. Perhaps our impact may not be as lasting as many view it to be. In many of these chapters he does note that some things will last long after we have 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 of the world. The atmosphere can return to normal despite the holes we have contributed to in the ozone layer. Forests can thrive even after we come through and displaced many species and harvest many trees. Despite these positive points, Weisman does some things that will last longer, but I find that Weisman fails to emphasize the fact that our impact will forever alter the world. The species that have gone extinct can never come back. Yes, extinction is a natural part of growth for the world, but many species have gone extinct primarily because of humans. At the same time I think of the fact that we must have an impact. There is no way for a species to have no impact. Each species on the planet affects many others both directly and indirectly.
One example of when Weisman fails to bring concern is when he talks of the impact our production of plastics is having. We are not seeing plastics biodegrade. There is hope 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 rubber we use for tires also has yet to find something that can degrade it. Both rubber and plastic will likely be around long after Homo sapiens are gone and continue to affect the world we left behind. Yet, after reading these segments by Weisman, I did not feel incredibly compelled to minimize my use of plastic or rubber. Weisman does not seem to be rallying people against their negative environmental impact. Since humans will likely be around a long time, we need to work on lessening the impact that we have, and I found that Weisman did not emphasize this as I believe he should.
Comparing Weisman to George Perkins Marsh, we find some things that at least appear to contradict each other. Marsh examines the balance that is a key part of nature. As humans expend resources, they don't come back 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 the past, and he appears to find this acceptable. Perhaps this is all we can ever expect. It may be best that nature is not exactly as it was. It is ever changing and adjusting together with all its interconnected parts. Whatever the result, Weisman finds hope where many fail to.
Weisman also alludes to human's desire to be remembered. We've sent off signals to try and contact other intelligent life, and we do our best to preserve our bodies 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 sure that what we leave does not doom the earth that housed us for so long.
That's not to say simple can't be excellent, but with how World... presents its info, it feels like Weisman did the bare minimum amount of research--as if his only source was a single introductory class or textbook filtered through a writer's whimsy. E.g., he shies away from referencing original research, and instead frequently mentions news articles inaccurately referencing original research as his sources. E.g., he references a number of outdated terms or ideas, such as continental drift or, positively, "The cure for pollution is dilution." (Ouch....)
World... is an alright book, but there are certainly better-written alternatives out there that cover all the same material and more. And, as a science journalist with as big an audience as he has, Weisman really shouldn't be skimping out on his homework.
That said, it's really not too bad if you're in need of an introduction to these environmental topics.
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