Countdown

Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?

Non-Fiction - Environment
528 Pages
Reviewed on 05/22/2014
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.