In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, and man-made molecules may be our lasting gifts to the universe.
Just days after humans disappear, floods in New York's subways would start eroding the city's foundations and the world's cities would crumble, asphalt jungles giving way to real ones. Drawing on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, oil refiners, marine biologists, astrophysicists, religious leaders from rabbis to the Dalai Lama, and paleontologists, who describe a pre-human world inhabited by megafauna (like giants sloths that stood taller than mammoths), Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today, if not for us.
Weisman reveals Earth's tremendous capacity for self-healing and shows which human devastations are indelible and what of our highest art and culture would endure longest. Ultimately reaching a radical but persuasive solution to our planet's problems — one that needn't depend on our demise — this is narrative nonfiction at its finest, taking on an irresistible concept with gravity but a highly accessible touch.