Sierra's July/August 2007 Let's Talk selection: The World Without Us
A book by Alan Weisman Review by Jennifer Hattam
What it's about
disappeared from the face of the earth, wind and rain would eventually
destroy our homes, but some of our plastics might linger for millennia. In
imagining a humanless future, journalist Alan Weisman examines how nature
has reclaimed places abandoned due to conflict or contamination, how other
big mammals became extinct, and how we have evolved--and speculates on who,
or what, might come next.
Where to get it
After its July 10 publication
date, The World Without Us will be widely available at libraries and
bookstores. You can preorder it now from
About the author
Alan Weisman's writing has appeared in the
Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, Discover, Harper's Magazine, the Los
Angeles Times Magazine, Mother Jones, and the New York Times
Magazine, among other publications. He is a senior producer for Homelands Productions, which creates documentary features for public radio,
and teaches journalism
and Latin American studies at the University of Arizona. The World
Without Us is his fifth book.
What do you think
about the author's approach? Did it make you consider environmental issues
in a different way?
What part of Weisman's scenario surprised you most?
Will certain things last longer or fade sooner than you would have
Have you personally experienced the unexpected impacts of
something that people created or witnessed examples of nature's resilience
or rejuvenative power?
In his prelude, Weisman wonders if there's "a way
for nature to prosper that doesn't depend on our demise." Do you think he
Did you feel hopeful or disheartened at the end of the book?
Read the Discover magazine essay "Earth Without
People," which formed the basis for The World Without Us.