Sunday, December 26, 2010

The world without us


What would happen if, all of a sudden, all human beings disappeared from Earth, leaving our buildings and products behind? How much time would Earth need to erase our impact on the planet? With no-one to control our residues, could there be any disastrous accident? These are some of the questions that the journalist Alan Weisman approaches in The World Without Us, a popular science book in which the author talks about how houses and cities would collapse, how nature would regain concrete and asphalt, what would happen with nuclear stations and nuclear residues, or which animal species or plants would benefit or be damaged from our extinction.
Here you have some clues: our planet would need 100,000 years to restore the levels of carbon dioxide back to pre-human presence; it would take 35,000 years to cleanse the lead deposited during the smokestack era from the soil; with high-voltage lines and glass towers down, together with other dangers built by humans, every year a billion doomed birds would survive; with all draining systems in the urban subsoil no longer working, streets would soon subside, along with houses some years later… Would cities disappear without a trace? If you want answers, you’d better read the book.

Sources:
  1. The World Without Us: http://www.worldwithoutus.com/index2.html
  2. Examples from the book: http://www.worldwithoutus.com/did_you_know.html
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