In this segment, Ira talks with author Alan Weisman about what the world might be like if humans were suddenly to disappear from the planet. Would a human-free Earth be more environmentally friendly? Would a sudden removal of humans disrupt the planet's ecosystems still more? In his book "The World Without Us" (St. Martin's Press, 2007), Weisman says that in as little as two days without human intervention, the New York City subway system would be flooded -- and in as little as a year after a mass human disappearance, every nuclear power plant on Earth would have run out of coolant and failed or melted down. How long would it take the planet to heal itself after humans left? And what would happen to our cities, cultural artifacts, and other creations?
This is a holiday rebroadcast of a previously recorded Science Friday, so please don't try to call in.
Produced by Annette Heist, Senior Producer