Sunday, December 09, 2007

The World Without Us

For some reason, I've always been attracted to stories
with a doomsday-type theme. I'm not sure why. I ran
across the book, "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman
the other day. This isn't a fictitious story about some
far distant future. It's a scientifically-written book
contemplating what the world would be like if humans
suddenly disappeared.

After 2 Days
No one is here to operate things that make daily
life normal such as running pumps to keep subways
from filling with water.

After 2-4 Years
The dirt beneath streets begins to buckle and give way
and roads degrade. Funny...this looks like a few
current neighborhoods I've visited.

After 300 Years
The rust process is doing a good job of destroying large
steel structures. Everyday homes made of wood have been
gone for several hundred years by now and even modern
skyscrapers are crumbling.

After 500 Years
Mature forests have taken over even the largest cities.

After 15,000 Years
Even buildings made out of stone disappear in the northern
climates as a new Ice Age is inevitable. (So much for
global warming!)

Basically, the book tells us that no matter how badly we may
screw up the planet, it will revive itself once we are no
longer around to ruin it. Hopefully we can make the world
a nice place to live again. I'm reminded of the last few
words in the movie, "2010, The Year We Make Contact"...

"...we were only tenants of this world. We have been given
a new lease -- and a warning -- from the landlord"

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