The world without us

Another late upload:

Landing in Brunei today and it looks so beautiful. It’s 6pm here and the light is bouncing off the seas and waterways. The clouds as fluffy cumulus ones billowing up in towers where the golden light dances off them.

I’ve just finished a book that makes me want to jump off a cliff.

But that is probably not the best way to start a blog.

I am currently waiting in Gatwick airport in London. By the 22nd hour of the flight I had lost the enthusiasm of being 36000 feet above the earth floating in a metal box and was wondering why I even bothered. I hardly sleep on any form of transport and I was terribly tired and desperately wanted to be horizontal.

As I glimpsed the Thames out of my window it all finally seemed worth it.

I arrived 6am this morning and have whiled away the morning changing airports and sleeping on seats. It is now about 2pm and I’m a little over it again. I catch a 10pm flight to Ibiza (which will be awesome) but still have 5 hours until I can be free of my large suitcase.

So in that time I will write a book review.

Well, it’s more of a book summary.

“The world without us” by Alan Weisman.

It is essentially an environmental science novel but is written with the kind of Dan Brown feel that moves you along quite quickly.

It looks at the question, “what would happen if humans disappeared from the earth tomorrow.”

Well, basically we’ve completely buggered up the world and even once we’d left there would be terrible plastics and radiation and introduced species of both flora and fauna that would continue to kill everything
BUT, the world would be a much better place without us and the balance would return eventually.

This book has taught me a lot of random facts:

1. 27,000 people died building the Panama Canal.

2. In the US alone, over 100,000 birds die each year from flying into windows, another 120 million are hunted. Wisconsin ‘s cats kill about 219 million per year (yup. Just in Wisconsin) and 200 million die from flying into electrical towers as the electromagnetic fields confuse them as do the red flashing lights.

3. I like sloths, particularly giant sloths, although mega fauna in general seems a little daunting.

4. Biodegradable plastic bags are still 50% small plastic particles that, rather than choking a sea turtle, are absorbed by smaller animals such as molluscs and kill them. Plastic is even in plankton so you can’t eat anything anymore.

5. Before 2035 there will be a massive earthquake in Istanbul that will ruin at least 50,000 apartment buildings. (to out that into perspective- one of the worst quakes in Latin American history was the 1985 quake of 8.1 in Mexico city which collapsed nearly 1000 buildings…)

6. Bulk of our landfill is construction debris and paper. Paper? Yes paper. As it usually gets buried it’s like the Egyptian scrolls – no air and water means they don’t go anywhere.

7. Most of the plastic end up floating around in our seas. The pacific gyre is a swirling mass of plastic nearly the size of Africa (10 million square miles and thats just the surface) and there are at five more major gyres out there.

8. We have no idea how long plastic takes to biodegrade – and no idea what the particles do when they actually finally break down.

9. Merchant shipping vessels dump around 639,000 plastic containers into the ocean every day. And that’s nothing to what we’re pouring into it daily from the shore.

10. I should have no more than one baby. Preferably none.

So that’s the good news…

The book at least has pictures?

I even drew one. It’s a single continuous line which forms a map of the North Pacific Gyre… Was I bored or what?



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