Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

COUNTDOWN

Louise Erdrich - Tuesday, November 05, 2013

As long into the night I read Alan Weisman's urgent, eloquent, harrowing and yet hopeful, story-packed COUNTDOWN, I paused often.  How did he do this?  He trekked the globe in an all-consuming effort to see if we, humanity, will survive the twin knock out clobbers of population explosion and climate change.  He writes of saints, heroes, and the self-consuming madness of greed.  Everywhere, he finds the most fascinating person in a thousand miles, and makes a story out of what they tell us. 

Somehow, after writing The World Without Us, an elegant thought experiment that imagined how earth would look without humanity, he has written an even better book.

Weisman poses questions upon which the survival of our species hinges:  How many people can our planet reasonably support?  Since we've already passed that number, how do we humanely reduce our numbers?  Because we can't reduce our numbers quickly enough to stop eradicating other species, what species can't we absolutely live without?  And lastly, how do we design a stable world and economy for a shrinking population?

COUNTDOWN answers these questions with whirling energy.  We meet mountain gorilla stewards and a San Diego teacher who teaches the answers to the questions above by describing an Iranian carpet.  We meet the great Indian poet Sugathakumari, who despairs of the rampant development of India's model state, Kerala.  Most important of all, Weisman comes up with a single thoughtful answer to all four of the questions he poses.

The fate of our species depends on how quickly and thoroughly women become educated.  Period.  Knock out answer.  Read the book and find out why.

Spoiler alert -- the book ends at Lake of the Isles, only blocks from Birchbark Books.

Yours for Alan Weisman's world changing outlook.  Please read this book.  Take your time.  You will weep and yet be cheered.  As Alan said when he was here in Minneapolis, "there are saints out there" so let's support what they are doing and gain a little grace, each one of us.

 Louise


Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Tags

The Wealth of Nature Kabul Empire of the Summer Moon leaves and snow Book Review Mohamed's Ghosts Gryphon Press Chitra Divakaruni E.L. Doctorow knowledge Roberto Bolano Catalyst thank you friends NACDI:All My Relations Aubrey/Maturin anniversary Keepers of the Trees gardens spring Zombies Anishinabemowin Fireworks Small Bookstores as Commons favorite book Green Team language revitalization coyote The Porcupine Year Ojibwemowin Video mississippi This Green World monkey in a dryer pilgrims William Trevor Vic Glover how good looking you are adventure germany Education Peak Water Ice Dartmouth British Navy Aza book and dinner club Brown Dog twins Bohumil Hrabal china Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge health care reform Unnatural Disasters Czech Writer buffalo Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive italy S.C. Gwynne Makoons Collective Denial local economy Louise Minnesota Let's Take the Long Way Home Women and Trees Anishinabe thanks Hilary Mantel More Remarkable Trees 350.org Guthrie Theater Bleak House Remarkable Trees Victory Gardens Master Butchers Singing Club Rare Books Patrick O'Brian The Game of Silence neighborhood Greenland birchbark house series sweden support Alice Munro aquifer favorite dog Ha Jin Native Arts The Resilient Gardener Gail Caldwell Bill Moyers Journal post holiday reads ependent joy H2Oil Anton Treuer france peculiar touches of green and gold Love Emily Johnson devoted customers tree books Canada Too Much Happiness Ojibwe Keystone XL Climate Change Kenwood Gardens Population Beth Dooley euphoria gratitude cafe Tree Houses 2666 Wendy Makoons Geniusz Easter Island ireland ptsd Tar Sands north dakota Nero Afghanistan Philip Roth Minneapolis Botany Islam plants Birchbark Books The Blue Sky show your love Gary Clement Dogs School Gardens President Obama Light in August city of books the most romantic city in the world The Birchbark House Peak Oil Magers and Quinn National Book Award post holiday boarding school Mankato Powwow photography Wastepaper Wolf Hall The Royal Prussian Library japan fresh water favorite tree Stephen Salisbury Chickadee State Troopers Milkweed Press Too Loud A Solitude Crushing Books solstice, Thomas King The Farmer's Daughter Alan Weisman Up Late Again Nemesis World on the Edge Hillary Clinton Pembina incarnation bill mckibben Kate DiCamillo Jim Harrison The Ojibwe green Poetry Michael Jackson Interview friends The Round House customers The Transition Handbook cafe closing graphix trees Native People

Archive