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Old 12-28-2019, 02:48 AM   #18
gmw
cacoethes scribendi
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Originally Posted by Victoria View Post
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I'm sort of hoping that The World Without Us will not be a downer (I've already bought it). Aside from the starting premise that we humans are gone, I'm really hoping that what follows is sort of hopeful, that the world could recover from us, because if that is still true then maybe we humans could find our way to doing some of that healing while we are still here.
Oh, the book is definitely a downer . But there’s every reason to hope the Earth will survive our demise, and so will life. Mass extinctions and global recoveries have happened many times before.[...]
You were right, it was a downer.

A lot of what we've already done is going to take geological time to fully clean up. But more depressing were some of the historical facts (the book spent a lot of time looking at history), and some of the current situation. For example:

I like birds. In this book I read that (as of 2007 when it was published) they estimate that more than 1 billion (that is not a typo) birds die by running into glass windows in the US alone. I get so sad for the one or two birds we lose to this every year in our house - if ever I needed an excuse to not clean windows here it is - but 1 billion?

A further 120 million are killed by hunters. (It seems that no one remembers the passenger pigeon.) And an estimated 219 million are killed by cats! (You can see why I'm not a cat person.)

They estimate a total population of around 20 billion birds in North America, so those are significant numbers. And on top of all that, there are many and varied other ways that we kill them even before natural predators even get a chance.

But it was an interesting book. Sometimes surprising in what it covered, and also in what it didn't say. As per the summary I'm about to put on the what-are-we-reading thread, probably a 3.5/5, marked down because I had hoped for a more useful conclusion.
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