Countdown

Countdown : Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?

4.14 (935 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Every four days there are a million more people on the planet. More people and fewer resources. In this timely work, Alan Weisman examines how we can shrink our collective human footprint so that we don't stomp any more species - including our own - out of existence. The answer: reducing gradually and non-violently the number of humans on the planet whose activities, industries and lifestyles are damaging the Earth. Defining an optimum human population for the Earth is an explosive concept. Weisman, one of the most brilliant environmental writers, will travel the globe, from the settlements of Israel and the plains of Mexico to the bustling streets of Pakistan and the teeming cities of the UK. In his search for answers, he will speak to religious leaders, demographers, ecologists, economists, engineers and agriculturalists in what promises to be an international classic.
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Product details

  • CD-Audio | 15 pages
  • 136 x 146 x 36mm | 379.99g
  • Little, Brown & Company
  • Hachette Audio
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged edition
  • 1478924543
  • 9781478924548
  • 2,459,473

Review quote

"Spirited descriptions, a firm grasp of complex material, and a bomb defuser's steady precision make for a riveting read... Weisman's cogent and forthright global inquiry, a major work, delineates how education, women's equality, and family planning can curb poverty, thirst, hunger, and environmental destruction. Rigorous and provoking, "Countdown "will generate numerous media appearances for Weisman and spur many a debate."" "-- "Booklist "(starred review) "Provocative and sobering, this vividly reported book raises profound concerns about our future." -- "Publishers Weekly" (starred review) "Weisman offers heart-rending portrayals of nations already suffering demographic collapse... A realistic, vividly detailed exploration of the greatest problem facing our species." -- Kirkus (starred review) "Rousing." -- Ihsan Taylor, "New York Times Book Review"'s "Paperback Row" "Unflinching and ready for anything, Weisman's "Countdown" tackles the biggest question facing not only us, but every other living thing on earth. How many people can there be on the earth? Written with extraordinary clarity, without all the arm-waving and doomsaying that seems to kill the conversation, his firsthand tour of the globe offers both worst case scenarios and the most hopeful futures we can imagine." -- Craig Childs, author of Apocalyptic Planet and House of Rain "Countdown converts globetrotting research into flowing journalism, highlighting a simple truth: there are, quite plainly, too many of us. A world that understands Weisman's words will understand the pressing need for change." -- Bill Streever, author of "Cold" and "Heat" "A frenzied barnstormer of a book.... "Countdown" is a chaotic stew of big stories, bold ideas and conflicted characters, punctuated by moments of quiet grace--just like our people-packed planet." -- "Scientific American" "A hugely impressive piece of reportage, a cacophony of voices from across the world." -- Washington Post "Rousing, urgent.... By exploring and integrating the lessons from cultures the world over, Weisman has been able to provide a blueprint that will ultimately benefit the planet as a whole. "Countdown" is a timely, essential, and hopeful work - one that suggests compassion in place of consumption and promises a return to an equilibrium that will prove a veritable windfall for humans, non-humans, and ecosystems alike." -- The Oregonian ""Countdown" is a gripping narrative by a fair-minded investigative journalist who interviewed dozens of scientists and experts in various fields in 21 countries. He also scoured the literature to deliver not so much a doomsday narrative but a warning followed by the practical solution employed by various countries to get control of their population." -- "Wall Street Journal " "He makes a strong case for slowing global population growth-and even for reducing overall population numbers-as a prerequisite for achieving a sustainable future...Weisman's book...offers hope... Weisman's emphasis on expanding access to contraception as the next-best strategy is both pragmatic and workable, as past efforts have shown. It is to be hoped that his message may be heeded sooner rather than later." -- "Nature" "Weisman's stories--from his travel to contemporary Israel and Palestine, where reproducing is a form of warfare, to histories of family planning in Asia and South America--are fascinating and often chilling." -- "Slate" "Weisman reminds us that when the experts are worried, we should pay attention." -- "Los Angeles Times" "Weisman's gift as a writer with a love of science is in drawing links for readers on how everything in our world is connected - in this case, population, consumption and the environment.... The pleasure in reading "Countdown" is in the interplay of interviews with experts and with everyday working people around the world, all trying to figure out the size of family they want." -- "Toronto Star" "[Weisman] found vivid, real-world portraits of what overpopulation portends." -- Men's Journal "Alan Weisman's "Countdown "is rich, subtle and elaborate. His magisterial work should be the first port of call for anyone interested in the relationship between population and the environment...It's a tightly argued, fast-paced adventure that crosses the plant in search of contrasts." -- "Literary Review" "While it is very much an alarming assessment, it is not without some genuine hope...It's a must read for all those who are concerned about the human prospect." -- Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute "Weisman's anecdotes and explanations...draw a clear picture.... Countdown asks the hard questions." -- "Shelf Awareness"
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About Alan Weisman

Alan Weisman is the author of several books, including The World Without Us, an international bestseller translated into thirty-four languages, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Wenjin Book Prize of the National Library of China. His work has been selected for many anthologies, including The Best American Science Writing. An award-winning journalist, his reports have appeared in Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Discover, Vanity Fair, Wilson Quarterly, Mother Jones and Orion, and on NPR. A former contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, he is a senior producer for Homelands Productions. He lives in western Massachusetts.
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Rating details

935 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 43% (402)
4 35% (329)
3 16% (152)
2 4% (37)
1 2% (15)
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