The World Without Us Book Review

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    The World Without Us Book Review

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    I am convinced that Alan Weisman knows absolutely everything about...everything.

    The World Without Us was a different sort of book selection for the AdviceDiva book club but we do like to select books of different genres. Although this book was not a novel, I was intrigued and needed to recommend it. I saw the author on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Mr. Weisman had speculated that many people did not like to read environmentalist books because it made people feel guilty about themselves as part of the human scourge on the earth. So what he did was wipe out the entire human existence right from the beginning of the book. This way, we might be apt to feel less guilt while reading it.

    My favorite genres are high fantasy and science fiction. So when I heard about the premise of The World Without Us, it reminded me of some apocalyptic type of novel or movie. I have always wondered, myself, what the world would be like if we suddenly were not here, or there were only a few of us were around. I found the idea fascinating! Therefore, this book was selected out of curiosity.

    The only two real books on environmentalism that I have read are Silent Spring by Rachel Carson and Earth in the Balance by Al Gore. I read both books in college because they were required reading. And Mr. Weisman was correct. Both books made me feel horribly guilty and shamed. Although I found the facts fascinating, I didn't really want to keep reading up on the material because it was depressing. Or, perhaps, ignorance is bliss?

    The World Without Us did not have the same effect on me as the previously mentioned two books. There was always a glimmer of hope intertwined with each chapter. Although we have wreaked much havoc on the earth in a very short period of time (geologically speaking), it wouldn't take long before nature would begin to take over and right the wrongs we have created if we suddenly vanished. The world would not be doomed. Gaia would continue to live as she licked her wounds clean. Perhaps we are not as evil to nature as we once thought.

    I must have been out of school for a long time now because there were a surprising number of interesting facts I have never even heard about. Nurdles are one of those things. I had never even heard of a nurdle before and suddenly I am learning about millions of these ubiquitous plastic pellets in the oceans. It was a bit frightening. Shouldn’t there be a law against this? Unfortunately we learn through The World Without Us that these nurdles are innocently blown by the wind and end up in our water sanctuaries. And who knew that we were responsible for the hermaphroditic polar bears in the north pole? I was literally blown away by this fact. Or how about the giant swirling maelstrom of junk in the North Pacific Gyre? Revolting and sad. Unfortunately for me, I think the saddest part was the fact that much of this was new information for me. Or maybe I should change that to: "Unfortunately for most of us" or "Unfortunately for Gaia".

    It might be depressing, it might even make you saddened, but in the end it is important for our species to evolve through knowledge. We might not want to read about it, but the fact remains that we must. We should be aware of our environment and the problems we have caused because it is only when we are aware of the problem when we can make steps to correct it. And it is only when we are aware of our mistakes when we can learn from them and learn how to not make them again. So reading The World Without Us becomes a lesson we can learn from in many ways. And awareness is the most important lesson of them all.

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