Without us

Last year I got a bit obsessed with the book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, which is about, basically, the world without us.  It turns out that some things will decay very quickly and get taken over by plants and the other animals  – you’d be amazed by how quickly your house would be taken once you’ve left it, seeds blow in, rain finds cracks and seeps through to cause mould and decay, footpaths crumble, skyscrapers quickly become new habitats for the animals repopulating the city, covered in plants like that roof in Darlinghurst that’s covered in swaying grass. Other things, like plastic, will stay around for a long long time, changing the evolutionary course of living things long after we’ve gone. Maybe it’s comforting to think that all our rising concrete and steel is not impervious to something older, more organic, more elemental and magical than our tricksy new technologies. You know how you feel when you’re really thirsty but  instead of having water you decide you really need coffee,  I don’t know, it seems sometimes we get like that as a whole: we want so much what is bad for us and we have this hyper, skittering need for growth for more, this shiny high, when the whole time we forget we need water to survive. I’m thinking about this because I found this video which is a time lapse of LA without cars by Ross Ching and more than anything I found it kind of peaceful, without all our freneticism and movement: we live so much in a mechanical world, the quiet is nice.


The ash cloud from  Puyehue Volcano in Chile. These are amazing images of nature being big and debilitating. All the cancelled flights and ruined plans really prove how much we still rely on the world around us, as much as we seem to distance ourselves from it.  Images from here.