Reviewed by Heather
Look around you, at today’s world. Your house, your city. The surrounding land, the pavement underneath, and the soil hidden below that. Leave it all in place, but extract the human beings. Wipe us out, and see what’s left. How would the rest of nature respond if it were suddenly relieved of the relentless pressures we heap on it and our fellow organisms?
–Alan Weisman, The World Without Us
Alan Weisman’s book The World Without Us begins by asking some very simple questions: What would happen to the world if humans suddenly disappeared? How would nature recover? Would nature ever fully recover? Would the world ever return to its pristine, pre-human state, or have we left an irrevocable mark on our planet and on our universe? Although it is unlikely that humans will ever be completely wiped off the face of the Earth without taking many other species with us, these questions (and their answers) are still interesting for what they reveal about our ultimate influence on the Earth, and potentially, what we may be able to do to counteract it, at least partly.