The world without us

Just finished Alan Weisman’s book, The World Without Us. Starts off fascinating and stays solid throughout (even if it slows a bit in the middle). It ends with moving thoughts about the end of the world and what human legacy might survive beyond our solar system to say to the Universe, “We were here.” (Turns out bronze etchings sent spaceward can last millions of years, while radio waves carrying out music and laughter can last billions.)

Utterly humbling to consider humanity’s place in geological time, what came before us for more years than we can truly imagine and, of course, what might come after. A wonderful read if you’re looking for some perspective, though it can be depressing to understand the long-term implications of our actions toward the planet.

Must admit that part of me felt glad to read about a planet healing itself once we were gone, but another part of me regretted the loss of human art, story, music, laughter (even the appreciation of nature itself – do animals stop and look at sunsets?) Likely, as with most things, the answer is balance.

Reading about the inevitable end of our world, and for a moment almost actually getting it, can be paralyzing. But then there’s Jeffers’ excellent argument. Maybe part of maturity is understanding that everything you do will someday be gone and forgotten, yet doing it anyway.

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