The World Without Us


Alan Weisman’s book, The World Without Us, is fascinatingly scary. It’s no wonder it has jumped right onto the non-fiction best seller list. I returned it to the library late. It was on hold so I couldn’t renew it; but I needed to finish it. I had left it at the bottom of the stack and didn’t start it until a few days before it was due.

What appalled me the most was the dates on some of the human damage to our environment that Weisman illustrates. I remember Earth Day when it was first created, yet the newest method of coal mining in West Virginia started in the 1970’s – about the same time. I often drove through that state well into the early 1990’s but I never noticed any missing mountain tops. Now I don’t think I want to look.

Weisman not only covers recovery from mankind’s abuse of the Earth, which worsens each year, but also the natural changes that occur due to weather, water, air, flora, and fauna. He also covers millenia of the Earth’s natural history, from before the beginnings of mankind, discusses the massive changes, both slow (glaciers) and sudden (asteroid strikes).

Although this definitely is an environmental and conservationism book, it is much more. Weisman pulls in human history (I didn’t know what is currently going on at the island of Crete) and science as well as what is happening to the world. This book should be on everyone’s reading list who wants a better world for our children.