If We Were Gone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Written by Coy and illustrated finely by Campannelli this book begs us to pay attention to what we're doing to the planet. Does it need us? No! We need it. Humans, even for as many of us as there are now, make up only a ten-thousandth of Earth's Biomass yet we've wiped out over eighty percent of all mammals to say nothing of other classes of life. And still, hunting is legal. The last time CO₂ was this high, humans hadn't even evolved. if all of Earth's history was compressed into a year, then humans wouldn't show up until after teatime on December 31st. That's how late we came ot the party. That's how little Earth needs us!

This book discusses that. Coy's incisive text and Capanelli's excellent (and slightly depressing, I have to say!) artwork depicts how little we would be missed if we disappeared. In fact, from the planet's perspective, right now it would be better if we did disappear. But this book isn't a manifesto to ban humans; it is a plea for humans to wake up and hear those chimes at midnight, and do something to help Earth before it's too late. We need it, and we're going to harm ourselves if we don't do something soon. I commend this book as a dire warning and a worthy read.
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This book gets the reader thinking about Earth and how we are treating it. It doesn’t need us, but we do need it. So we need to be better about how we take care of it.
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Oh, wow. This is quite intense. I actually needed a little walk outside to collect my thoughts about this children's picture book. 
And what I realised that while the message is useful, I'm not sure I am fond of the execution. It glosses over fundamental parts of the things we, as humans, have done to the earth. I can imagine it would be advisable to make children realise that we need the earth, and that the earth doesn't really need us, but I think this book romantizes it too much. I would not give this too my children to read, maybe only the younger ones who can't read. I'd then tell my own story to accompany the watercolour drawings.

I love the watercolour illustrations a lot. There atmospheric, not "too perfect" and they are in a consistent style. Beautiful colours are used and some are pretty intense, but nothing a toddler can't handle.

So, I'd read this to a kid telling the story a little different. The intentions are good, and I agree it's better to start young in environmental education, but the writing could have been a little better.
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The title of this book caught my eye because it is a question I often ask myself. 

'If we were gone what would the world look like'? 

This book is primarily for children, but adults and older children might also enjoy it. It poses an interesting question and explores this with the help of some beautiful pictures.

I often ask myself this question as I stroll in the marshland near my home. Slap, bang in the middle of a global city are beautiful wetlands and marshes. I have come to believe that the earth can function without us. The plants and vegetation would cover everything and all the buildings would eventually rust and collapse but without human beings the earth would thrive and I see this from observing the marshlands. The plants and animals flourish and when they don't it is normally because someone has dumped rubbish or cut down trees or removed the grass and wild plants in the wetlands. 

It was interesting to see my thoughts brought to life in the pages of this thoughtful and beautifully illustrated book. We need the world but the world will thrive without us. So how should we then live?

The book isn't just imagining a world without humanity, it is also challenging us to think about our environment and to respond. We need the world around us but we must use our natural resources carefully and look at ways to live without damaging the environment.

I liked the way the book gently challenges the reader to think differently especially about the way we consume things. We always think we need the next thing - new phones, new clothes, more air travel etc but really we each need to take responsibility for the way we use the creation around us and challenge ourselves to reduce our individual impact on the environment.

The book has a gentle way of encouraging the reader to learn more about the environment.

This is a very enjoyable and thoughtful book with beautiful illustrations and a good one for discussing the environment with children


Copy provided via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Environmentalism is a topic that is in the forefront of many of our minds right now. This book is a beautifully illustrated picture book that explores the idea that the world would continue without us (and maybe be better off). It has a powerful ending that points at that, though the our planet does not need us, we need it and should treat it kindly. This would be a great choice for an Earth Day read, or any other time.
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I've read If we were gone by John Coy. I got this book from Netgalley. It's a picture book for children. I didn't really like it. The message behind it was good, but the author didn't write it well, so I think the message got lost. It was also really short and I think it could have benefited with a longer story. The drawings were very good. I gave it 3 stars.
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Il mondo senza di noi è il titolo di un saggio di Alan Weisman, vincitore del Premio Pulitzer.

L'autore immaginava che l'essere umano sparisse, e quello che sarebbe successo nel corso dei minuti, delle ore, dei giorni, delle settimane, degli anni, dei secoli alla Terra: una teoria sorprendente di cambiamenti spesso immediati (la metropolitana di New York si allagherebbe subito, per dire, se non funzionassero le pompe), e sempre incisivi.

Questo libricino riprende lo stesso concetto, ma in maniera talmente mediocre da essere sconfortante, sia nelle illustrazioni che nei testi, estremamente scarni: e se da una parte il concetto di fondo è più che condivisibile (la Terra è una sola, prendiamocene cura) non basta certo a salvare un volume realizzato così poveramente.
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Nice! I like this book! it's a simple telling of how humans need the Earth more that it needs us. Good read for younger kids to learn about ecology. I enjoyed the illustrations. Good read!
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Hmmm…  I'm not sure this worked quite as well as intended, so while it's by no means terrible I don't think it's worth too many stars.  It shows how nature is waiting to restore our world to her ways – rampant plant growth replacing all our roads, bridges and pipelines, leading to the whole planet seemingly becoming one big jungle.  Therefore we have to restore the balance of everything to allow us to live in harmony with nature.  I don't think the volume addresses that dichotomy well – that life without us would do wonders, therefore we have to protect life for our own best interest.  It's an appealing point for the script and artwork to show the entropy of the world coming back to how it was before we swung out of the trees, but that isn't exactly the best environmental lesson we need to be hearing.
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My favorite genre is Dystopian. I find the concept of future post human societies fascinating. They can also be very scary to think about. 
This book was really beautiful. Showing kids how important it is for us to take charge bs change our ways to help the planet.
The concepts were interesting, how Eve try ting would basically go back t nature and nature would thrive. A beautiful and sad thought. The pictures were beautiful as well and it helped to calm this topic in a kind way. 

Overall this book was wonderful and I would read it repeatedly to my kids.
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Many of us have probably seen or heard about books and movies in this vein for adults. If We Were Gone is a sanitized version of those speculations aimed at kids. Unfortunately, the book's conclusion (i.e., the world doesn't need humans at all) is fundamentally flawed, in part due to what is left out of this version.

Do humans need the planet? Of course. Does the planet need humans? This book takes the stance that it doesn't, and that might have been true... a few hundred years ago. Now, however, humans have made a big mess, and there are some parts of it that only we have the capability to clean up or mitigate. One of the most striking things about some of those adult versions was what happens with regards to nuclear power. Without humans around to man the facilities, the world soon faces a situation of multiple meltdowns, explosions, and radioactive fallout. Now, I can see how that could be a bit intense for a kids' picture book, but glossing over it doesn't paint an accurate picture, either. Also a bit confusing is how the book completely ignores the issue of plastic pollution. In fact, on the issue of human objects breaking down, the text is limited to: "Some materials would last longer--bronze, silver, gold, ceramic."

Basically, this book minimizes the fact that we've made a mess and shows a future world without us that's only partially accurate. If the human race had magically vanished in, say, 1819, the natural world could've recovered easily from our onslaughts. If the human race were to disappear in 2019, we'd leave behind a toxic dump full of plastic, industrial chemicals, and melting-down nuclear reactors. In that context, it seems a stretch to argue that the planet would be better off without us.
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Good and simple ecological work for children showing how important nature is to us and how unimportant we are to it. Simple but it achieve its purpose perfectly. Well done!
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