Alan Weisman's 2007 The World Without Us is a lushly bleak non-fiction vision of apocalyptic utopia—a scientific extrapolation of what would happen if all the people on earth disappeared, all at once. Our parasites and dependents would die; carnivores would thrive; trees would push their way up through the asphalt; bridges would fall; nuclear power plants would fail, spilling radiation into the countryside, poisoning the land for millennia; plastics would be everywhere, virtually forever; and the earth would go on.
I asked Otrebor, the one-man force behind the black metal, green freak band Botanist, if he'd ever read Weisman's book. He said he hadn't, but that hasn't stopped him [...]
Now that we're well on into our planet's sixth mass extinction event, and with recent news that we're charging towards environmental catastrophe faster than ever, it's time we start thinking about contingencies not in terms of "if" but in terms of "when." Let's say, just for argument's sake, that the human species will survive. Some people, like Annalee Newitz, author of Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction, think we will! But even if she's right, certainly, there will be changes we'll have to get used to. Besides the hilarious "Great, I'll have beachfront property" jokes the wittier among us [...]
The morning after, or, the third Thursday of this weirdo week. (iTunes)
Possibly the dual shower head is commonplace place in the wider world, but it’s not in mine. So when I recently encountered one in a hotel-room shower, I found it confusing, and vaguely freakish. I wondered: Is this some thick-headed vision of progress—the same level of “innovation” that answers the three-blade razor with a four-blader? Or is it simply a production error, an industrial design mutant? What I would soon learn is that whatever the original intent, what it had become was, of all things, a moral crossroad.
—Awl pal Rob Walker has to fight the gluttony that lives inside us all… before coffee.
"Panthers and orchids are sentinels. They are not guards; they are watchdogs of the environment. We should be watching them just as closely. When they decide to leave, we should too."
Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm! Soon your meat may come pre-seasoned and help the environment: "Curry spices could hold the key to reducing the enormous greenhouse gas emissions given off by grazing animals such as sheep, cows and goats, scientists have claimed. Research carried out at Newcastle University has found that coriander and turmeric – spices traditionally used to flavour curries – can reduce by up to 40 per cent the amount of methane that is produced by bacteria in a sheep's stomach and then emitted into the atmosphere when the animal burps."
I'm a bad citizen, environment-wise, in that I don't really give a shit about my carbon footprint or whatever. I leave everything plugged in and crank the A/C as soon as the mercury passes 50; if I cared, I'd justify it by noting that I live in New York and use public transportation, but I don't care, so I don't bother, because by the time global warming's gonna be a major problem for those of us in the first world I'll be dead, an assumption which probably holds true even if global warming becomes a major problem for those of us in the first world next year or so.