Author Asks, Can We Save Our Packed Planet?

Countdown author Alan Weisman

Our crowded planet gains one million more people every four and one-half days, and Earth isn’t getting any bigger. Author Alan Weisman will speak about that dilemma, and his new book Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? on Thursday, November 21, at 7 pm in Clapp Laboratory’s Hooker Auditorium.

Weisman asks big questions. For Countdown, Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries looking for answers to some of the world’s most important questions: Does humanity have a future on earth? 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 arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity? 

Weisman promises nothing less than to “reveal what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet, and our presence on it to balance.”

The need is clear: Earth’s population has quadrupled over the past 100 years, and by mid-century the planet will hold an estimated nine to ten billion souls. To feed them all, we will need to produce as much food as has been consumed over our entire human history, according to Weisman.

Weisman is the author of several books, including The World Without Us, an international bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The journalist’s work has also appeared on NPR, in anthologies, and in periodicals including Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, Discover, Vanity Fair, Wilson Quarterly, Mother Jones, and Orion

The event is sponsored by the Miller Worley Center for the Environment and the Odyssey Bookshop.