Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog


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.


Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


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