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First Look:<em> Countdown</em>, The New Book By Environment Speaker Alan Weisman
Authors | September 24, 2013

First Look: Countdown, The New Book By Environment Speaker Alan Weisman

How many people can the Earth support before it collapses? That's the question bestselling author and environment speaker Alan Weisman asks in his new book, Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth. Our world's population jumped from 1 billion to 6 billion between 1815 and 2013. That means the population doubled, and then, doubled again, during the course of the 20th century. This seems even more startling when you consider it took almost 200,000 years to reach that first billion. What's more, 1 million new people are being added to the total population every 4.5 days. "Our numbers have reached a point where we've essentially redefined the concept of original sin," Weisman writes. "From the instant we're born, even the humblest among us compounds the world's mounting problems by needing food, firewood, and a roof, for starters. Literally and figuratively, we're all exhaling CO2 and pushing other species over the edge."

With the population exploding, and the planet not getting any bigger, what does the future hold? Weisman traveled to 20 different countries to ask some of the toughest—and most critical—questions about population growth, prosperity, and sustainability. As his book proves, the time has come to seriously consider how we can arrive at a stable, optimum population, and operate in an economy of prosperity that doesn't promote endless growth. And, as The Los Angeles Times says, "Weisman reminds us that when the experts are worried, we should pay attention."

Check out what some of the first reviews are saying about his book, below. Weisman will also be doing a slew of events to promote the book. Find out when he'll be in your city.

  • "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 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

  • “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.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review

  • “This is not a jeremiad but a realistic, vividly detailed exploration of the greatest problem facing our species.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

  • “Provocative and sobering, this vividly reported book raises profound concerns about our future.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

To book Alan Weisman as a speaker, contact The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau.
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