Author, TIME #1 Book The World Without Us and Countdown
What can we realistically do to live in balance, not conflict, with the rest of nature? A flashpoint of controversy, debate, and, most importantly, hope, The World Without Us was named a Best Book of 2007 by TIME magazine. How soon would, or could, the climate return to where it was before we fired up all our engines? Could nature ever obliterate all our traces? In his talks, Weisman explores and answers these questions. He shows us how long our infrastructure, our plastics, our greatest works of art, and the carbon in our air would stick around if we were gone.
Weisman's new book, Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, is a gripping look at humanity's future. 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 thought-provoking journalists at work today, with a book whose message is so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.
An award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in Harper's, Discover, and on NPR, Weisman is a senior radio producer for Homelands Productions. The World Without Us was also named the best book of 2007 by Entertainment Weekly, and will soon be a major motion picture.
Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?
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 the 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.
The World Without Us
In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity's impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us.
In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; what of our everyday stuff may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.
An Echo in My Blood: The Search for My Family's Hidden Past
Throughout his childhood in Minneapolis, Alan Weisman was told that his grandfather was killed by Communists in the Ukraine at the turn of the century. When, as an adult, he meets a long-estranged uncle who tells a very different version of the story, Alan embarks on a search for the truth that takes him to the chemical ruin of Chernobyl and back in time to the Bolshevik Revolution.
He discovers the paradoxical rationale for his father's vehement political and social conservatism as well as a more universal truth: that all immigrant families, in order to survive in a new world, must create protective family myths. One of these myths hides the true fate of his grandfather—a nightmare too terrible to express. At once an examination of his rootless generation and a look at the hopes and dreams of his forefathers, An Echo in My Blood takes you from the secret heart of an America you might not recognize to the pogroms of turn-of-the-century Kiev.
Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World
Los Llanos--the rain-leached, eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia--are among the most brutal environments on Earth and an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. Here, in the late 1960s, a young Colombian development worker named Paolo Lugari wondered if the nearly uninhabited, infertile llanos could be made livable for his country's growing population. He had no idea that nearly four decades later, his experiment would be one of the world's most celebrated examples of sustainable living: a permanent village called Gaviotas.
In the absence of infrastructure, the first Gaviotans invented wind turbines to convert mild breezes into energy, hand pumps capable of tapping deep sources of water, and solar collectors efficient enough to heat and even sterilize drinking water under perennially cloudy llano skies. Over time, the Gaviotans' experimentation has even restored an ecosystem: in the shelter of two million Caribbean pines planted as a source of renewable commercial resin, a primordial rain forest that once covered the llanos is unexpectedly reestablishing itself.
Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has called Paolo Lugari "Inventor of the World." Lugari himself has said that Gaviotas is not a utopia: "Utopia literally means 'no place.' We call Gaviotas a topia, because it's real." Relive their story with this special 10th-anniversary edition of Gaviotas, complete with a new afterword by the author describing how Gaviotas has survived and progressed over the past decade.