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

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

Archive