Reddit Reddit reviews The World Without Us

We found 46 Reddit comments about The World Without Us. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Science & Math
Biological Sciences
The World Without Us
Picador USA
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46 Reddit comments about The World Without Us:

u/mista2kool · 30 pointsr/interestingasfuck

The World Without Us is about exactly that. Really good read.

u/BoomptyMcBloog · 17 pointsr/environment

This subject is discussed extensively in the book The World Without Us:

>“Any idea what these are?” Thompson is guiding a visitor along the shore of the Plym River estuary, near where it joins the sea...Amid twigs and seaweed fibers in his fistful of sand are a couple of dozen blue and green plastic cylinders about two millimeters high.

>“They’re called nurdles. They’re the raw materials of plastic production. They melt these down to make all kinds of things.” He walks a little farther, then scoops up another handful. It contains more of the same plastic bits: pale blue ones, greens, reds, and tans. Each handful, he calculates, is about 20 percent plastic, and each holds at least 30 pellets.

>“You find these things on virtually every beach these days. Obviously they are from some factory.”

>However, there is no plastic manufacturing anywhere nearby. The pellets have ridden some current over a great distance until they were deposited here—collected and sized by the wind and tide.


>[Thompson] devised an aquarium experiment, using bottom-feeding lugworms that live on organic sediments, barnacles that filter organic matter suspended in water, and sand fleas that eat beach detritus. In the experiment, plastic particles and fibers were provided in proportionately bite-size quantities. Each creature promptly ingested them.

>When the particles lodged in their intestines, the resulting constipation was terminal. If they were small enough, they passed through the invertebrates’ digestive tracts and emerged, seemingly harmlessly, out the other end. Did that mean that plastics were so stable that they weren’t toxic? At what point would they start to naturally break down—and when they did, would they release some fearful chemicals that would endanger organisms sometime far in the future?

>Richard Thompson didn’t know. Nobody did, because plastics haven’t been around long enough for us to know how long they’ll last or what happens to them. His team had identified nine different kinds in the sea so far, varieties of acrylic, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride. All he knew was that soon everything alive would be eating them.

>“When they get as small as powder, even zooplankton will swallow them.”

I have to wonder why an article like this would get so many downvotes...are there that many users subscribed to Environment just so they can downvote any article that actually points out how bad the situation really is?

u/mess_is_lore · 16 pointsr/orlando

Architecture student here. A good book to read is The World Without Us if you're interested in what happens to infrastructure days to millennia after we are gone.

The building is definitely prone to mold spores and rodent infestations. In years to come I imagine the infiltration of vegetation will weaken the structure if upkeep is suspended. Other than that, it will probably become a large, 'modern' bat house.

u/[deleted] · 11 pointsr/askscience

You could also check out The World Without Us, it's a book about what happens to the things we've created if we stopped existing one day. It goes on at length about the Hoover Dam among other man-made structures. The History Channel had a series based off of this book as well.

u/silfo80 · 9 pointsr/videos

The Book is pretty great:

Kinda reads like Bill Bryson or Mary Roach

u/carn2fex · 6 pointsr/politics

Reminds me of this book. Steps through what would happen if humans suddenly stepped away from all the gulf coast chemical plants.. yikes: The World Without Us

u/Skadwick · 6 pointsr/BeAmazed

> Our homes and cities won't break down, and neither will a lot of what we have produced (should humans disappear).

They will more so than you might think, just on a longer scale than something like a bird's nest. Check out 'The World Without Us'

We and everything we do is literally a part of nature. The universe is a closed system and everything is increasing entropy :)

u/GlassDarkly · 6 pointsr/InfrastructurePorn

Here's the book:

Don't know about the series, though.

u/Animorganimate · 4 pointsr/NatureIsFuckingLit

There's a great book that deals with this exact topic, called The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. It basically starts off with every human simply disappearing from Earth, and the process in which nature would reclaim the planet. It's science fiction obviously, but without an overarching story. It reads sort of like a historical text about a what-if scenario of the future. I recommend it if you're interested in this subject.

u/Sharrock · 4 pointsr/books

There are a bunch of suggestions in here already but allow me to supplement with a non-fiction book. The World Without Us bu Alan Weisman. Essentially he begins with the premise that humans are removed suddenly from the planet. He then explores (through research and discussion) what would happen to infrastructure, land, etc. He creates a narrative so its readable but it is also packed with interesting details. If anyone likes post-apocalypse settings this book provides a real-world anchor.

u/freeradicalx · 4 pointsr/Futurology

I read Alan Weisman's The World Without Us a few years back, and in that book he theorized that if humans were to all instantly disappear, the first large pieces of our construction that would fail would be our dams. Apparently dams require constant inspection and maintenance to keep in working shape and most would fail very quickly without our intervention.

What the book didn't really touch on, and what I would be concerned about, would be region-scale environmental disasters that result from industrial facilities left unattended. Nuclear power plants, oil wells and refineries in particular. If we were to vanish, I imagine the world would instantly see hundreds of massive oil spills and probably within a week or so, various nuclear meltdowns. The planet can recover from that but I imagine it could create a massive die-off for 100,000 years or so, plus the lasting effects of radiation.

u/BBQTerrace · 3 pointsr/pics

This book might interest you.

It get's a bit environmental protectionist preachy at times but it answers a lot of these questions in very rich detail.

u/MedicineMan81 · 3 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

This book will answer all those questions (and many others) in great detail. A really interesting thought experiment. I highly recommend it.

u/nuclear_knucklehead · 3 pointsr/askscience

A great book on the subject is called "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman.

There were also TV series' on Nat Geo and History based on the book called "Aftermath: Population Zero" and "Life After People" respectively. Episodes of these are (probably still) available for viewing on youtube.

u/xnd714 · 3 pointsr/kurzgesagt

Parallel worlds by Michio Kaku is pretty good, if you're into the history of string theory and/or the universe. I read it about 10 years ago, so I'm not sure if it's outdated nowadays.

The world without us by Alan Weisman talks about what would happen to the earth if we disappeared, it talks about engineering marvels like the hoover dam, NY subway system, and nuclear waste storage sites and what could happen to these if humans were not around the maintain them.

I'm looking for a book about space if anyone has a suggesting. Particularly books that talk about neutron stars and other cosmic wonders.

u/iheartmyname · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

The World Without Us was a pretty interesting read. It's about all of the trappings of consumer culture and how long they would still remain if there were suddenly no humans around. It's pretty eye opening about how long certain things will keep harming the planet, and about others that surprised me with how fast they'd go away.

u/seattlejc · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I couldn't speak to the quality of the science but it all seemed pretty plausible to me. I believe it was based on (and an expansion of) the book "The World Without Us".

u/dagens24 · 2 pointsr/thelastofus

[This book inspired a lot of the world of The Last of Us. It's a great read.] (

u/BreckensMama · 2 pointsr/ifyoulikeblank

Late to the game, but people always need more books...

The World Without Us was great, really interesting read about humanity's effects on the planet, with lots of references to expand on if you wanted to do that.

A Year of Living Biblically was interesting, even if you aren't a Christian or a Jew, if you find religion interesting.

And last but not least, Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam. This was made into the movie 'October Sky', and it's a memoir, one of the best I've ever read. But all the science of the rockets is in there too, I learned a lot about propellants and DeLavalle nozzles lol.

u/Rexutu · 2 pointsr/masseffect

If you're interested in the topic, I highly recommend The World Without Us by Alan Weisman.

u/PhiloHunter · 2 pointsr/ZombieSurvivalTactics

I think maybe the book "The World without us" might be what yoyr looking for:

Its a really interesting read but can be a bit dry at times. I know one of the "learning channels" did a miniseries based on it, but i can't remember what it was called.

-edit cause i can't type for shit on my phone-

u/transprog · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion
u/32ndghost · 2 pointsr/worldnews

Right, let's expand and destroy the life support eco-systems we depend on in order to... survive?

A much saner strategy would be:

a) limit human encroachment on the natural world by setting aside ecologically viable areas that we are not allowed to touch/enter. 20% of the world, 50%, 90%? pick a number, maybe start low and as time goes on add to it. Beautiful things happen when mankind gets out of the way - see [The World Without Us]
( by Alan Weisman. This would decouple our civilization's fate from that of the natural world's. Aren't you glad the Romans didn't take out 90% of exisiting wild species when their society collapsed? Their preindustrial technology wasn't up to the task, but ours certainly is.

b) realize that an economic system that requires exponential growth on a finite planet is madness, and move towards a sustainable, steady-state system. Western economic theory is rooted in a period when Europeans were colonizing the world and unlocking vast, seemingly limitless, areas of undeveloped land and resources. There are no more frontiers of unexplored natural wealth to unlock to kick the can down the road a little longer, we desperately need a system that works with what we can sustainably harvest today.

u/mackstann · 2 pointsr/environment

A very cool book that is similar in style to this article is The World Without Us.

u/undercurrents · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Any book by Mary Roach- her books are hilarious, random, and informative. I like Jon Krakauer's, Sarah Vowell's, and Bill Bryson's books as well.

Some of my favorites that I can think of offhand (as another poster mentioned, I loved Devil in the White City)

No Picnic on Mount Kenya

Guns, Germs, and Steel


The Closing of the Western Mind

What is the What

A Long Way Gone

Alliance of Enemies

The Lucifer Effect

The World Without Us

What the Dog Saw

The God Delusion (you'd probably enjoy Richard Dawkins' other books as well if you like science)

One Down, One Dead

Lust for Life

Lost in Shangri-La


True Story

Havana Nocturne

u/C12H23 · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I don't exactly have time to make a detailed post right now, but I recommend grabbing a copy of The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It covers this exact subject.

u/Lost_Afropick · 1 pointr/askscience

The book you want to read is this one

It's very detailed and very good.

u/kleinbl00 · 1 pointr/books
  • Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA by Tim Wiener. Chapter and verse how a small cadre of adventuresome elitists ended up shaping the post-War world into what it is today.

  • The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis. A balanced look at the effects upon the world of the economic systems of capitalism and communism, and an analysis of how the Soviet loss of the Cold War does not mean an American win.

  • Blood Brothers: The Criminal Underworld of Asia by Bertil Linter. As much a socioeconomic history of the Pacific Rim as a flashy expose of Triads, the Yakuza and the Tongs, Blood Brothers delves into the philosophy of crime in Asia and how the Western paradigm of Law/Crime is inadequate when describing the Eastern mindset of quasi-governmental organized "crime."

  • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. Discusses the overall impact of mankind on ecology, geology, and the future of the planet, whether or not we happen to be here.

  • The Joke by Milan Kundera. A lyrical, heartbreaking look into the workings of Soviet Czechoslovakia. The allegations that Milan Kundera may have been an informant himself throws a stark and surreal light on the book.

  • The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski. Starting with the fork and working his way through the paperclip, Petroski illustrates that the oft-repeated platitude "necessity is the mother of invention" is completely wrong - luxury is the mother of invention.

  • Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Oversimplified and infuriating, Ishmael is, however, a pretty good overview told in a semi-entertaining way of Conrad Lorenz's argument that the modern lifestyle is fucking stupid and we were all better off as hunter-gatherers. If condescending sophistry isn't your bag, go to The Source.

  • Watchmen. Fer real.
u/roontish12 · 1 pointr/askscience

I don't understand why would the US be exempt? But you can take a look at The World Without Us for an idea of what would happen if every human being on earth died or disappeared at the same time.

u/SmellyWetDawg · 1 pointr/evolution

Anything by Richard Dawkins is great for a general overview. If you wanted to drill down into human evolution, I'd recommend Last Ape Standing: The Seven-Million-Year Story of How and Why We Survived. For fun if you wanted to read an author's hypothesis on a world without humans, I'd recommend The World Without Us. Spoiler alert: cats thrive, dogs die.

u/PkSLb9FNSiz9pCyEJwDP · 1 pointr/answers

Check out the book by Alan Weisman, the world without us. Pretty good read. link

u/Wildcatb · 1 pointr/gifs

Very welcome :-)

The speed with which nature will take over if left to its own devices is amazing.

For a really good read on the subject, check out The World Without Us.

u/lilmookie · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

I can offer a general layman's overview of you like (global studies ftw)

I'm not sure if this is what you're getting at but:

"Humans comprise about 100 million tonnes of the Earth's dry biomass, domesticated animals about 700 million tonnes, ..."

I think human lifestyle might be a bigger issue. If you include indirect human usage like domesticated animals (and the resulting sewage pools) etc.

You might really like this book:

Edit: hopefully as technology progresses we can be less disruptive towards our environment. I'm convinced that bio diversity will be a huge scientific/economic boom in terms of finding out what kind of genetic/mathematical/physical models work well as trial tested by time/evolution (granted they're not all winners but...) A lot of solid architecture and medicine has come straight out of nature. Seems like a shame we're just pissing it away for short term goals/benefits.

I also look forward to the day all science merged into one and there's something better out there to run society than what humans/computers/programs are limited to at the moment.

u/face-on-the-head · 1 pointr/mildlyinteresting

Not totally sure - maybe 100 years or less? That’s a total guess.
this book might be ideal for you

u/schpdx · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

This book is useful for your scenario: The World Without Us. After 40 years, not much city infrastructure will be left usable. Especially since nature has had a chance to play with it for 40 years. Trees get pretty big in 40 years, and there was no one to pull out the saplings. Concrete buildings will still have most of their basic structure recognizable, albeit full of cracks and spalling all over. Wood buildings...might be recognizable as a hill of vegetation. The wood (even pressure treated wood) won't last for 40 years under those conditions. I suppose you might find occasional wood buildings in protected areas that might still be recognizable as a building. Expect leaks if it rains, though.

u/TheChanger · 1 pointr/books

To add something to the list that others might enjoy, The World Without Us is a fantastic thought experiment of what might happen if humans disappeared overnight. The book delves into a a brief history of human artifacts and how long they could withstand the test of time.

u/HomeNucleonics · 1 pointr/AskReddit

There's also an excellent book by Alan Weisman on the topic.

u/Xantodas · 1 pointr/

Reading this right now. Has been a popular subject with me lately, the early US space missions that is, not necessarily just the moon landing. It's old and written by a magazine team, but seems alright.

Some other non-fictions I've read over the last 2-3 years that scream out at me are Ice; the Nature, History and Uses of an Astonishing Substance. Basically everything you could ever want to know about ice. The World Without Us. What would happen to our world if people disappeared completely tomorrow? Fascinating and quick read, plan on rereading it again soon. A Long Way Gone. Story of an African boy soldier. Grim, yet fascinating topic. Guitar; An American Life. History of guitars, how they're built. I'm a player, and so this was great. And lastly, A Crack in the Edge of the World. All about the 1906 SF earthquake, which is my neck of the woods, so was good local history reading.

u/nightbiscuit · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/hso · 1 pointr/pics
u/synapsecollapse · 1 pointr/AskReddit

OP should read The World Without Us. Awesome book explaining how long it would take for nature to reclaim the world when all humans are gone.

u/dsfgdfbhcvxsdf · 1 pointr/pics

> And look how much damage we have done in the tiny amount of time we've been here.

What damage? What impact have humans had on Earth that will still be here a million years later? Here's an interesting book, if you are interested. It describes what would happen to a major human city if all humans suddenly vanished from the Earth.

> do you truly believe that it wouldn't be morally wrong for humans to try to make every species extinct - because species die out anyway?

But we are not actively trying to make every single species out there go extinct. And even if we were there is no way we would be able to do that. The fact that there are a handful of endangered species out there is not a sign of the end of the world. And this really isn't a question of what's morally right and wrong. Life doesn't care about right and wrong, it cares about survival.

You seem to be missing my point. I'm not saying that we have the right to go and exterminate every single thing on this planet. What I am saying is that nature is not frail and weak, and we are not as powerful as we like to believe. Look at all the natural disasters through out history. Earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and fires. All of these have destroyed major cities in mere hours.If the Earth was some sort of huge sentient being out to destroy us we wouldn't be able to last a week on this planet.

And things like global warming is no big deal for nature. Dramatic climate changes happen all the time. It might cause a global mass extinction. But in the end the Earth will be fine. We won't be however. That's why we shouldn't be worried about saving the planet, we should be worried about saving ourselves.

u/skydivinghuman · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

Read this a few years ago. Discussed exactly that. The World Without Us

u/esmifra · 1 pointr/Futurology

Alan Weisman wrote a book explaining what would happen to the infrastructures and world as we know it if we disappeared over night.

It's one of my favorite books.