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

Comments
Jeff Isenhart commented on 05-Nov-2013 06:38 PM
From your description,Louise,I look forward to reading this book. These are questions, with probably hard answers, that have many of us in our circle thinking about. I am one who holds with "the earth is given for steward for future generations. I have come to the conclusion that that this can not go on. Any book written with "whiling energy" can find a place on a shelf in my den, along with those of Ed McGaa, Black Elk, Thoreau, Norton book of Nature writing, Hemingway and yours. Thank you for this critique and endorsement.
Joe Lamb commented on 20-Nov-2013 10:54 AM
I found "The World Without Us" to be one of the most hopeful environmental books I've read. Strange that a world without humans could be considered "hopeful," but when I'd worked on nuclear weapons issues, back in the '80s, many serious people thought humans capable of destroying life on earth. Alan reminds us that it's not, in the really big sense of geologic time, nature at risk, it's humanity itself. Alan ranks among the most creative thinkers of our time. "Countdown" the next book on my must-read-list.
Anonymous commented on 22-Nov-2013 09:39 PM
Hugs to you all at Birchbark Books for keeping the flame burning bright. If books are the cart, love is the horse.
Steve Anderson commented on 24-Nov-2013 10:03 PM
Thanks for the recommendation. It's an astonishing read but very disturbing and didn't leave me with much hope for our species. I agree that educating girls and women is critically important and the single most important tactic in trying to save us.
Post a Comment!

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Tags

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

Archive