Alan Weisman is an award-winning journalist whose reports have appeared in Harpers, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Discover, and on NPR, among others. A former contributing editor to The Los Angeles Times Magazine, he is a senior radio producer for Homelands Productions and teaches international journalism at the University of Arizona. His essay Earth Without People (Discover magazine, February 2005), on which The World Without Us expands, was selected for Best American Science Writing 2006. His books include The World Without Us, An Echo in My Blood: The Search for a Family's Hidden Past, Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World, and La Frontera: The United States Border with Mexico.
Alan Weisman lives with his wife, sculptor Beckie Kravetz, in western Massachusetts.
This biography was last updated on 08/03/2011.
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Alan Weisman speaks about his groundbreaking book, The World Without Us
Your new book, The World Without Us, poses a fascinating,
extraordinary thought experiment: if you take every living human off the Earth,
what traces of us would linger and what would disappear? It asks what might
happen to our world if humans vanished? What was the inspiration for your book?
For a long time I've sought some fresh, non-threatening approach to disarm readers' apprehensions about environmental destruction long enough that they might consider the impacts of unbridled human activity on the rest of nature and on our own fate. I've found that theoretically wiping humans off the face of the earth intrigues rather than frightens people.
At first glance, the research required to make educated predictions about the future on many parts of the planet seems incredibly daunting. How did you go about this task?
To understand how a world without people might be requires learning what the world was like before people existed which turns out to be different on every continent and island. And then, of course, there is the fact that two-thirds of the world is covered with water. What would the seas be like ...
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