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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

After we've gone...Just ordered this book from Amazon. It sounds fascinating...
It's based on an earlier essay which you can read at the DISCOVER site and which gives you a flavour for the contents of the book: what would happen if humans were to disappear from the planet. Here's an (American biased) example of some effects in New York (which would be replicated in other major world cities....)

If humans were to vanish from New York, how soon would nature take over? Scientists predict that within . . .

• 10 years Sidewalks crack and weeds invade. Hawks and falcons flourish, as do feral cats and dogs. The rat population, deprived of human garbage, crashes. Cockroaches, which thrive in warm buildings, disappear. Cultivated carrots, cabbages, broccoli, and brussels sprouts revert to their wild ancestors.

• 20 years Water-soaked steel columns supporting subway tunnels corrode and buckle. Bears and wolves invade Central Park.

• 50 years Concrete chunks tumble from buildings, whose steel foundations begin to crumble. Indian Point nuclear reactors leak radioactivity into the Hudson River.

• 100 years Oaks and maples re-cover the land.

• 300 years Most bridges collapse.

• 1,000 years Hell Gate Bridge, built to bring the railroad across the East River, finally falls.

• 10,000 years Indian Point nuclear reactors continue to leak radioactivity into the Hudson River.

• 20,000 years Glaciers move relentlessly across the island of Manhattan and its environs, scraping the landscape clean.

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