The World Without Canada - Netflix
This original documentary explores Canada's significant impact on the modern world by imagining the realities and repercussions if those contributions never existed. The series speculates on the global impact of a world without Canada and the catastrophic consequences that would unfold. Delivered as a collection of thematic stories based on Canada's natural resources, technological innovations, medical breakthroughs, humanitarian efforts, and more, the series focuses on Canadian contributions and identity from an informative, dramatic, and celebratory perspective.
Runtime: 60 minutes
The World Without Canada - The World Without Us - Netflix
The World Without Us is a non-fiction book about what would happen to the natural and built environment if humans suddenly disappeared, written by American journalist Alan Weisman and published by St. Martin's Thomas Dunne Books. It is a book-length expansion of Weisman's own February 2005 Discover article “Earth Without People”. Written largely as a thought experiment, it outlines, for example, how cities and houses would deteriorate, how long man-made artifacts would last, and how remaining lifeforms would evolve. Weisman concludes that residential neighborhoods would become forests within 500 years, and that radioactive waste, bronze statues, plastics, and Mount Rushmore would be among the longest-lasting evidence of human presence on Earth. The author of four previous books and numerous articles for magazines, Weisman traveled to interview academics, scientists and other authorities. He used quotations from these interviews to explain the effects of the natural environment and to substantiate predictions. The book has been translated and published in many countries. It was successful in the U.S., reaching #6 on the New York Times Best Seller list and #1 on the San Francisco Chronicle Best-Sellers list in September 2007. It ranked #1 on Time and Entertainment Weekly's top 10 non-fiction books of 2007.
The World Without Canada - Synopsis - Netflix
Weisman explains that a common house would begin to fall apart as water eventually leaks into the roof around the flashings, erodes the wood and rusts the nails, leading to sagging walls and eventual collapse. After 500 years, all that would be left would be aluminum dishwasher parts, stainless steel cookware, and plastic handles. The longest-lasting evidence on Earth of a human presence would be radioactive materials, ceramics, bronze statues, and Mount Rushmore. In space, the Pioneer plaques, the Voyager Golden Record, and radio waves would outlast the Earth itself. Breaking from the theme of the natural environment after humans, Weisman considers what could lead to the sudden, complete demise of humans without serious damage to the built and natural environment. That scenario, he concludes, is extremely unlikely. He also considers transhumanism, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, the Church of Euthanasia and John A. Leslie's The End of the World: the Science and Ethics of Human Extinction. Weisman concludes the book considering a new version of the one-child policy. While he admits it is a “draconian measure”, he states, “The bottom line is that any species that overstretches its resource base suffers a population crash. Limiting our reproduction would be damn hard, but limiting our consumptive instincts may be even harder.” He responded to criticism of this saying “I knew in advance that I would touch some people's sensitive spots by bringing up the population issue, but I did so because it's been missing too long from the discussion of how we must deal with the situation our economic and demographic growth have driven us too (sic)”.
With material from previous articles, Weisman uses the fate of the Mayan civilization to illustrate the possibility of an entrenched society vanishing and how the natural environment quickly conceals evidence. To demonstrate how vegetation could compromise human built infrastructure, Weisman interviewed hydrologists and employees at the Panama Canal, where constant maintenance is required to keep the jungle vegetation and silt away from the dams. To illustrate abandoned cities succumbing to nature, Weisman reports from Chernobyl, Ukraine (abandoned in 1986) and Varosha, Cyprus (abandoned in 1974). Weisman finds that their structures crumble as weather does unrepaired damage and other life forms create new habitats. In Turkey, Weisman contrasts the construction practices of the rapidly growing Istanbul, as typical for large cities in less developed countries, with the underground cities in Cappadocia. Due to a large demand for housing in Istanbul much of it was developed quickly with whatever material was available and could collapse in a major earthquake or other natural disaster. Cappadocian underground cities were built thousands of years ago out of volcanic tuff, and are likely to survive for centuries to come. Weisman uses New York City as a model to outline how an unmaintained urban area would deconstruct. He explains that sewers would clog, underground streams would flood subway corridors, and soils under roads would erode and cave in. From interviews with members of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the New York Botanical Gardens Weisman predicts that native vegetation would return, spreading from parks and out-surviving invasive species. Without humans to provide food and warmth, rats and cockroaches would die off.
The book is divided into 27 chapters, with a prelude, coda, bibliography and index. Each chapter deals with a new topic, such as the potential fates of plastics, petroleum infrastructure, nuclear facilities, and artworks. It is written from the point of view of a science journalist with explanations and testimonies backing his predictions. There is no unifying narrative, cohesive single-chapter overview, or thesis. Weisman's thought experiment pursues two themes: how nature would react to the disappearance of humans and what legacy humans would leave behind. To foresee how other life could continue without humans, Weisman reports from areas where the natural environment exists with little human intervention, like the Białowieża Forest, the Kingman Reef, and the Palmyra Atoll. He interviews biologist E. O. Wilson and visits with members of the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement at the Korean Demilitarized Zone where few humans have penetrated since 1953. He tries to conceive how life may evolve by describing the past evolution of pre-historic plants and animals, but notes Douglas Erwin's warning that “we can't predict what the world will be 5 million years later by looking at the survivors”. Several chapters are dedicated to megafauna, which Weisman predicts would proliferate. He profiles soil samples from the past 200 years and extrapolates concentrations of heavy metals and foreign substances into a future without industrial inputs. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and implications for climatic change are likewise examined.
The World Without Canada - References - Netflix