Saturday, August 20, 2011



. . . picture a world from which we all suddenly vanished. Tomorrow.

     Unlikely perhaps, but for the sake of argument, not impossible.  Say a Homo sapiens - specific virus  --  natural or diabolically nano-engineered -- picks us off but leaves everything else intact. Or some misanthropic evil wizard somehow targets that unique 3.9 percent of DNA that makes us humans and not chimpanzees, or perfects a way to sterilize our sperm.  Or say that Jesus - -more on Him later --or space aliens rapture us away, either to our heavenly glory or to a zoo somewhere across the galaxy.

. . . Wipe us out, and see what's left. How would the rest of nature respond if it were suddenly relieved of the relentless pressures we heap on it and our fellow organisms ? How soon would, or could, the climate return to where it was before we fired up all our engines?

. . . Could nature ever obliterate all our traces? How would it undo our monumental cities and public works, and reduce our myriad plastics and toxic synthetics back to benign, basic elements? Or are some so unnatural that they are indestructible?

     And what of our finest creations - - our architecture, our art, our many manifestations of spirit?  Are any truly timeless, at least enough so to last until the sun expands and roasts our Earth to a cinder?

And after that might we have left some faint, enduring mark on the universe; some lasting glow, or echo, of Earthly humanity; some planetary sign that once we were here? 

The World Without Us
Alan Weisman

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