From The Washington Post:
If human beings vanished from the Earth, our ceramic pottery and bronze statues would last much longer than our wood-frame houses. New York’s subways would be flooded within days; Lexington Avenue would be a river within decades. Head lice would go extinct, and predators would make short work of our doggies, but a lot of endangered fish and birds and trees would flourish in our absence. We endangered them, after all.
A diligent and intelligent science writer named Alan Weisman discovered all this while investigating what would happen to this planet if people suddenly disappeared. Now he has converted his thought experiment for Discover magazine into a deeply reported book called The World Without Us, and it’s full of interesting facts. For example: The European starling spread like avian kudzu after some Shakespeare buff introduced every bird mentioned by the Bard into Central Park. The demilitarized (and therefore depopulated) zones of Korea and Cyprus have become undeclared wildlife sanctuaries; so have Chernobyl and abandoned forests in New Englans and Belarus. Almost every ounce of plastic that’s ever been manufactured still lurks somewhere in our environment. And radio waves are forever, so extraterrestrials at the edge of the universe might be able to watch “I Love Lucy” reruns billions of years after we’re gone. Who knew?