August 26, 2011

The World Without Us: An interview with Alan Weisman

If you haven't yet downloaded our 20th anniversary e-book, 20 Years, 20 Teachings, there's still time. It's free to Tricycle Supporting and Sustaining Members. In it you will find many of our most popular writers from the past two decades. Most of the featured articles are from Buddhist teachers, but not all.

Award-winning environmental journalist Alan Weisman makes an appearance in our e-book. In an interview with Clark Strand, titled after his best selling book, The World Without Us, Weisman speaks about global warming, population control, and what the world would look like without humans. At a time when natural disasters are becoming increasingly common events, this  is even more relevant today than it was when it was published just a few years ago in 2007.


As I read your book I kept coming back to a modern Buddhist description of Buddha as life itself, or even the “life force” inherent in nature. Does this concept make sense from your point of view? It makes perfect sense. If I were asked to sum up what the book is about, I think I could bring it down to two ideas. The first is that there’s something wonderfully mysterious and comforting in how indomitable life seems to be. Because the very worst stuff can happen—for instance, the Permian extinction, which occurred roughly 250 million years ago, where you have a million years of volcanic eruption through the carboniferous layer of the planet, and possibly an asteroid to boot, and so the planet gets whacked down to where there’s almost nothing moving . . . and then life starts to crawl out of the sea again. Or there’s the most infertile space you could possibly imagine, be it a highly contaminated chemical weapons site or the place where two very cold pieces of steel come together to form the union in a bridge. And given the least opportunity, life springs right out of those cracks. Life does amazing things to fit changing circumstances and survive.


Read the rest of the article here. Get your free e-book here.

What would your house look like if you abandoned it? Here's an animated video from the website of The World Without Us.

 

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