Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? (DO NOT ORDER - INTERNATIONAL EDITION)

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A powerful investigation into the chances for humanity's future from the author of the bestseller The World Without Us.

In his bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity's constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was his hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy ...

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

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Overview

A powerful investigation into the chances for humanity's future from the author of the bestseller The World Without Us.

In his bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity's constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was his hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy planet-only in harmony, not mortal combat, with the rest of nature.

But with a million more of us every 4½ days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, and with our exhaust overheating the atmosphere and altering the chemistry of the oceans, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth—and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth?

Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world's cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in their beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest that sometimes it's in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.

By vividly detailing the burgeoning effects of our cumulative presence, Countdown reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance. Weisman again shows that he is one of the most provocative journalists at work today, with a book whose message is so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this follow-up to The World Without Us, journalist Weisman visits more than 20 countries to explore four urgent questions. How many people can our planet hold? Is it in our own best interest to limit population growth? Which species are essential to our survival? And how can we design a prosperous economy that does not depend on endless growth and consumption? Weisman argues that this will be the century in which we must manage our population, “or nature will do it for us in the form of famine, thirst... crashing ecosystems, and wars over dwindling resources.” To seek answers, he visits some of the planet’s most overcrowded regions, including the Philippines, Niger, and India—with its “archetypal new megalopolis,” Mumbai, swollen beyond comprehension at 21 million. He also visits countries that have slowed their population growth (Iran and Thailand), and those whose populations are dwindling, such as Japan. Weisman interviews Catholic clerics; Buddhist monks; biologists, including Paul Erlich (The Population Bomb); physicists, demographers; and others. He also analyzes the repercussions of China’s one-child policy; the Haber-Bosch fertilization method that led to higher food yields; and the chronic malnourishment afflicting one billion people today. Provocative and sobering, this vividly reported book raises profound concerns about our future. (Sept.)
Library Journal
In his best-selling The World Without Us, Weisman contemplated an Earth without humanity. In this follow-up, he considers the impact of the staggering number of people on this planet and how we can slow population growth and heal the damage already wrought. With a 12-city tour.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316277433
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Pages: 336

Meet the Author

Alan Weisman is the best-selling author of The World Without Us, and an award-winning journalist whose reports have appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Discover, and on NPR, among others. A former contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, he is a senior radio producer for Homelands Productions and teaches international journalism at the University of Arizona. His essay "Earth Without People" (Discovermagazine, February 2005), on which The World Without Us expands, was selected for Best American Science Writing 2006, and he is interviewed frequently about how humans exist on the planet.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(14)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2013

    This compelling book asks the most important question, How many

    This compelling book asks the most important question, How many people can this country/earth hold? and answers it by taking the reader on an in depth journey to 21 countries. Even though the answer is that we need about 5 billion less of us to survive, there are bright spots in the book, Iran and Thailand have done what others need to do.. have a campaign to humanely drastically reduce birthrates. In a not so subtle but fair way Weisman depicts those who are insisting on ONLY working to reduce our consumption as playing a fool's game with our future.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    A

    More fear mongering by enviromentalists who think they are God.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite Countdown by Ala

    Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

    Countdown by Alan Weisman is a cogent, thorough, impeccably researched wake up call to our human race, teetering on the brink of impending extinction due to overpopulation and over-consumption. Apart from presenting a compelling argument that we must curb our natural instinct to proliferate or face a planet too exhausted to support us all, Weisman takes his audience on a virtual world tour of overpopulated, over-consuming nations and simultaneously explains a complex, multi-layered problem in common sense modules that even the non-scientifically minded can understand. 

    The text, read by veteran stage and television actor Adam Grupper in a steady voice that is appropriately solemn but never dull, is written in an armchair tourist style that fascinates even as it educates. In examining the myriad cultural and philosophical barriers to replacement-level reproduction, Alan Weisman offers many valuable insights into the path that led us to our present dilemma and even goes so far as to point out some possible courses of action which might allow humanity to survive for thousands of years more in total harmony with the natural world which sustains us.

    The current situation is grave: at present, the human race is adding an additional one million people to its ranks every four and one-half days. We are already well past the projected number of inhabitants the earth can comfortably sustain and growing so fast that, without custom-tailored hybridization of crops and artificial fertilizers engineered to increase yield, we would already be a species in decline. There are a number of possible solutions, some very easy but none of them popular - it seems that the intelligence which distinguishes us from other animals also prevents us from being able to fully comprehend the extent or urgency of the problems facing our survival.

    Countdown is a very real glimpse of a planet crumbling under the sheer weight of the mass of humanity currently consuming resources faster than nature can replenish them. In Countdown, Alan Weisman has crafted a rousing call to action in the face of a dire prophecy we may yet outrun if only we are willing to listen and to act responsibly so that future generations may live in abundance.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    BLOOD CLAN IS WEAK

    AND PUNY AND SO MANY OTHER THINGS

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Darkstar

    He ran in, "I forgot! I forgot, it slipped my mind! Blazeclan doesn't usually do Gatherings! We are sorry!" He dipped his head.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Fawnheart

    "Oh im sorry for interputting ill leave now." *I start to pad to the forest.*

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Eyes

    Watched the gathering and blinked nervously.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Redstripe

    No problem nether does boulderclan

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Lilywolf ORGINAL PACT CLANS

    Ahh good to know someone likes my idea. But never forget I made the original pact clans. I find it a little annoying that you didn't ask if it was okay but whatever. I figured Blazeclan would start something like this anyway. ~ Lilywolf, PACT CLAN CREATOR AND ORGANIZER

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Heathertail

    Tell me about your self

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Scarletfang

    Waited.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Res 12

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Icestorm

    He sat.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Starynight

    Waited

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Skystar & Co.

    "Oh, you were just looking sad at camp." Jaguarflare meowed, running his tail down her spine.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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