Tag Archives: nature

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

Holy fuckballs… Every now and then a book comes along and just punches you in the face.world_without

POW! Right in the kisser! 

(Sorry, I had to). 

The World Without Us is one of those books. I’ve seriously explained this book to about twenty different people to try and convince them to read it. Weisman undertakes the almost unthinkable task of answering the question, “What would happen if all humans just suddenly disappeared *POOF* from the planet?”

Well other than Mother Earth, Father Sky, and all the billions of animals heaving a collective sigh of relief…. A lot actually. And it wouldn’t take as long as you might think.

Weisman illustrates about a bajillion fascinating points in TWWU, and I seriously could not put it down. Did you know that if power cut off in NYC, within TWO WEEKS the subway system would be COMPLETELY filled with water–thus weakening the foundation of all the skyscrapers and causing a relatively imminent collapse? SAY WHAAA??

Or, that it is hypothesized that Africa is the only continent with so many “mega” mammals (elephants, rhinos, etc…) left alive because humans originated there and those species had a chance to grow immune to our disgusting disease-ridden bodies?

Or, that if you cut an 18 inch hole in the roof of your home, it would only take ten years for the building to fall apart!?

Prepare to be amazed, educated, and more than a little depressed. One of my favorite books all year.

Just read the damn thing, ok?

(Oh, and stop using body scrub with little plastic exfoliating beads in it).

5 days after tomorrow of 5

The-world-without-us


Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere–Alive by Les Stroud

I was a little trepidatious to start Survive! simply because I’d read 98.6: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin not too long ago and I hated it.  It was longer than necessary and super boring, and I all really learned from it was to bring a bunch of survival objects with me, cover them all in neon tape, and DON’T GO OFF ALONE IN NATURE, STUPID. A long pamphlet would’ve sufficed. 

So it was a pleasant surprise when Les Stroud’s book was written in a much smoother format and he actually told me things that would help me survive.

Uh… Isn’t that the point? Survive-9780061373510

I actually learned things while reading Survive! and on a recent trip to the camping section I recognized several things he’d mentioned in his book–and I knew how they could be used. (This is no mean feat for me because I HATE camping, tools, and fixing anything).

I liked the fact that he included real life anecdotes about people that had used his techniques to survive–like the couple whom, when stranded in their truck in a blizzard, ripped up the seat cushions and fashioned snow shoes out of them. They then used the shoes to walk many miles to safety (and didn’t lose any toes to frostbite!)

He also mentioned some things that I would’ve never thought of until my “survival moment” happened. Like don’t get all emotional about destroying the environment if it will help you live. I could totally see myself not wanting to rip down saplings to build a shelter or feeling horrendously guilty about burning rubber to generate a signal fire. He makes the point that you can use your bleeding heart for nature’s benefit at a later date, right now you are trying to live to see said later date.

Good point.

Stroud reiterated several important pieces of advice throughout the book, including staying hydrated and being extremely careful about eating any unknown plant matter. He said that many people will die of thirst rather than drink from an untreated water source, but really, when it comes down to it, shouldn’t you be willing to take that chance if it’d save your life? He stated that someone’s irrational fear of stomach upset/diarrhea/parasites outweighs the much more realistic fear of dehydration. He argues that if you make it out of your situation alive, you’ll be able to get treated for parasites later. But you’ll never get treated for anything if you weaken and die because you were unwilling to drink from the puddle beside you.

He also said that many people fear starving to death above anything else. They are convinced that by not getting three regular meals a day they are on their way out. This leads them to make stupid decisions about eating native flora and that in and of itself has caused a number of deaths. You can survive for a LONG time without eating, but not very long without drinking. This means don’t go eating that pretty mushroom or strangely-shaped leaf because your stomach is growling. Be smart about it.

This is a must read for everyone, because you never know when you may need some survival skills!

4 stagnant ponds of 5

survivorman-les-stroud


You Have To Look Closely to See the Little Things…

The other day while Jason was at work, I decided to go explore some of the nature trails around the area. Once I got past the duck gathering place  AND the child gathering place… I saw some pretty cool things. The dirt trail was packed down hard from many years of use, and I had to stoop down or crouch to spot objects of interest. I learned that not only is England a haven for all manner of interesting plant species, but also insect species as well. Who would’ve known?

I also learned (the hard way) that aforementioned insects like to hide amongst the stinging nettles, assumedly to protect themselves from predators and curiously bumbling blondes…

Thistle Flower

Duck Eggshell

I was almost always alone, and was startled by nesting birds taking flight more than once…

Getting deeper in

This view of the weeping willow reminded me a lot of Lord of the Rings.

This little guy’s neon color is what stopped me in my tracks. I wonder what he’ll turn into?

“Ladybird, ladybird fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children are gone.”

Snails! So incredibly cute! They were my all time favorites of the day, but that’s not going to stop me from ordering escargot while I’m in Paris! (This is the part where I got stung…)

Snail Eggs

Good Luck 🙂

Unknown Bug

I picked up an interestingly shaped rock, and this was underneath. (Don’t worry, I replaced it!)

This little guy was crawling right across the path. I had to save him from a man walking his dog.

Dead vole. I wonder what left it there…

Coming home, I ran into Jason. We noticed this little guy sitting on the brick wall surrounding our flat. He’s a fly mimicking as a bee for defense. After a bit of research, turns out he’s a Volucella inanis–a species of hoverfly native to Europe that also aids in pollination.

Don’t forget to look closely, my dears! Please let me know what you see 🙂


Quote of the Day: Chistian Nestell Bovee

“We trifle when we assign limits to our desires, since Nature hath set none.”

                                  -Chistian Nestell Bovee