Library Author Series: Alan Weisman
Spend an evening at the library with author Alan Weisman, the award-winning journalist and author of COUNTDOWN, Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth.
In his internationally bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the world could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity’s constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was his hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy planet—only in harmony, not mortal combat, with the rest of nature.
But with a million more of us approximately every 4.5 days on a planet that’s not getting any bigger, and with our exhaust overheating the atmosphere and altering the chemistry of our oceans, prospects for a sustainable future seem ever more in doubt. In COUNTDOWN: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, Alan Weisman’s long awaited follow-up book, he traveled to 21 countries to ask four questions that experts agreed were probably the most important on Earth—and also the hardest. How many people can the Earth sustain? If, in order to ensure our survival, we need to stop our growth before we hit 10 billion—or even reduce our numbers from our current 7 billion—is there an acceptable, nonviolent way to convince all of the world’s cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems that it’s in their best interest to do so? What kind of ecosystem is necessary to maintain human life, and what species or ecological processes are essential to our survival? And finally, If a sustainable population on Earth is less than our current growth projection, or even less than our current number, how do we design an economy for a shrinking population, and then for a stable one—that is, for an economy not dependent on constant growth?
This community talk is free.
About the author
Alan Weisman has reported from the US, Mexico, Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Antarctica, Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle and Far East. His radio pieces have been heard on NPR, Public Radio International, and American Public Media. His writing has appeared in Harper's, New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Orion, Audubon, Mother Jones, Discover, Condé Nast Traveler, Resurgence, and in several anthologies (including The Best American Science Writing 2006 and Moral Ground).
Weisman's newest book is Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? His previous book, The World Without Us, was a New York Times and international bestseller, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Orion Award, the Rachel Carson Prize, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and winner of the National Library of China's Wenjin Book Prize. It was named the top nonfiction book of 2007 by Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and Canada's National Post, and has been translated into 34 languages. He is also the author of An Echo In My Blood; Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World; La Frontera: The United States Border With Mexico; and We, Immortals.
Weisman has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Colombia, writer-in-residence at the Altos de Chavón Escuela de Arte y Diseño in the Dominican Republic, the John Farrar Fellow in Nonfiction at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and a professor of writing, journalism, and Latin American studies at Prescott College and the University of Arizona. Among his radio awards shared with his Homelands colleagues are a Robert F. Kennedy Citation, the Harry Chapin/World Hunger Year award, and Brazil's Prèmio Nacional de Jornalismo Radiofônico. He has also received a Four Corners Award for Best Nonfiction Book; a Los Angeles Press Club Award for Best Feature Story; and a Best of the West Award in Journalism. His book, Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World, won the 1998 Social Inventions Award from the London-based Global Ideas Bank. He and his wife, sculptor Beckie Kravetz, live in western Massachusetts. Photo by Bill Steen.
About the Library Author Series
Bud Werner Memorial Library presents an ongoing program of author talks throughout the year. These are free community events held in Library Hall, where a diverse award-winning range of visiting authors speak about their literary works and their writing processes. Each talk is followed by a Q&A and an opportunity to have authors sign copies of their books.
Books will be available for sale and author signing courtesy of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.