What if we disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow? All of us, just like that? What would happen? How would the remaining world survive or thrive without us? That’s the scenario that gets examined by science writer Alan Weisman (who we interviewed last year) in his non-fiction eco-thriller, The World Without Us.
Now out in paperback, the book, which spent 26 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, sees things playing out like this:
With no one left to run the pumps, New York’s subway tunnels would fill with water in two days. Within 20 years, Lexington Avenue would be a river. Fire- and wind-ravaged skyscrapers would eventually fall like giant trees. Within weeks of our disappearance, the world’s 441 nuclear plants would melt down into radioactive blobs, while our petrochemical plants, ‘ticking time bombs’ even on a normal day, would become flaming geysers spewing toxins for decades to come… After about 100,000 years, carbon dioxide would return to prehuman levels. Domesticated species from cattle to carrots would revert back to their wild ancestors. And on every dehabitated continent, forests and grasslands would reclaim our farms and parking lots as animals began a slow parade back to Eden.
The World Without Us is a great read. And now some of our readers can get their hands on a free copy. We have 10 copies to give away, and here’s how we propose doing it. We’ll give a copy to the first 10 readers (living in North America) who add a quality piece of “open culture” in the comments section of this post. That is, you will need to post a link to an enriching video, podcast or mp3 that fellow readers will enjoy, and tell us a little about why. When we get ten quality clips, we will then package them in a post and share them with the larger community. In short, think of it as you get as you give. How nice. Very Kumbaya. (Watch Joan Baez sing it). Now let’s see what you’ve got.
NOTE: We can only ship to readers in North America. And, yes, that includes Canada this time, and Mexico too. To our many international readers, I apologize for the geographical limitation. And we’ll try to make things up to you down the line. We do appreciate you.
Also please note that if you’re selected, I will also eventually need your name and mailing address.