Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope For a Future on Earth? by Alan Weisman (2013, Little, Brown and Company; 502 pages)
Winner of the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for science writing, the 2013 Paris Book Festival Prize for nonfiction, the 2014 Nautilus Gold Book Award, and the Population Institute’s 2014 Global Media Award for best book, this is one of the most provocative and extraordinary non-fiction books I’ve read in awhile, a book that should be mandatory reading in every school in the world. The author, Alan Weisman offered a great talk in TEDxSitka in the summer of 2014, speaking precisely about the topic of this book:
With a million more of us every 4½ days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Alan 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? 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 by Alan Weisman reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance.
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Recommended by: Maite