37°F
weather icon Clear

Taking a look at the ‘Countdown’ to save the planet

There are too many people on the road.

That’s what you thought on your commute today. Too many cars, too much traffic and, while you’re on that rant, crowds seem to grow bigger each year, too. Nobody stays home any more; or at least that’s how it seems.

Seven billion people in the world and they all have to go where you are. And in the new book “Countdown” by Alan Weisman, you’ll see it’s going to get worse…

In the year 1900, our planet held 1.6 billion people. Spread over seven continents, there were resources and room for everybody, including various species of animals, birds and plant life that created a good biodiversity.

Now, just over a hundred years later, the world’s population has doubled — twice. It took an unbelievable “12 years…to go from 6 to 7 billion” people. For scientists, that’s a sobering cause for concern — especially since humans add another 80 million people to the Earth each year.

But how many people can the Earth hold? If we’re reaching that threshold, how do we convince the world’s population to reduce those numbers? How do we adjust for the changes, economically and socially, that such a reduction would create?

And if we don’t adjust, “What can’t we absolutely live without?”

In finding the answer, Weisman looks at the world in general. He visits Palestine, where some 12 million people live on a relatively tiny sliver of land. He looks at Pakistan, and a population that’s tripled since 1970. He studied China, its one-child policy, and a gender imbalance that will affect its citizens as they age. He visited Niger, where children die and women clamor for birth control.

Weisman looks at Israel, where entire species of birds have been decimated. He seeks answers in rural China, where a poison was banned and the return of storks brought better rice to the hungry. And he visits Japan, where the whole country is now forced to attempt “prosperity without growth…”

In the end, the solution is borderline palatable, and quite touchy. What Weisman found — and what scientists believe would offer hope — is a solution that won’t be easy, but may be very necessary.

Without it, the planet may “crash.”

So you say you love a good, scary novel? You’ll throw those things away when you read the real scares in “Countdown.”

Filled with sobering facts and statistics and loaded with controversy, this book is going to make you think — which is what I loved about author Alan Weisman’s last book and what I love about this one.

In examining the evidence and the works of experts, he presents information and finds an answer that is awesome in scope and fearsome in reality — and what’s amazing is that many (including several U.S. presidents) have long supported what Weisman discusses.

Without a doubt, this book is going to stir up a bees-nest of much-needed debate. The alternative simply boggles the mind, so sit down and read “Countdown”… because three’s company, but seven billion’s a crowd.

“Countdown” by Alan Weisman, c.2013, Little, Brown $28.00 / $31.00 Canada, 528 pages

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Nevada Democratic Caucus early voting starts this weekend

The process of awarding delegates to the array of candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination is underway, and Nevada will the be third state in the nation to voice its presidential preferences.

Grazing regulations up for revision

The Bureau of Land Management is currently in the processing of revising its grazing regulations, filing a notice of intent with the Federal Register in late January to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement detailing how the proposed changes could effect the land and wildlife.

Nevada Census grants available to fund materials, outreach

The Nevada Complete Count Committee is now rolling out its 2020 census administrative support and partnership grant applications, aimed at helping provide cash to organizations and entities working on the 2020 census.

In Season: Start seeds now for a spring and summer harvest

This is an exciting time of year for the vegetable gardener. Seeds started over the next few weeks will be providing you with a bounty in just a few short months. Seed starting is easier than you may think if you follow a few simple steps.

An Evening of Vaudevill in Tribute to Amargosa Opera House 52nd Year

Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys have been playing 1920s jazz-age music long enough to discover a nearly irresistible ‘prescription for joy’ and they’re bringing it to Marta Becket’s Amargosa Opera House stage this Saturday night. Headlining for the 52nd anniversary celebration of the famous theater-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, Klein’s ensemble tops off a program packed with good old-fashioned vaudevillian fun.

Nye County Sheriff’s Office set to use ankle monitors to relieve jail crowding

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office is set to relieve crowding in its detention center with the use of an ankle monitoring system. On Feb. 4 the Nye County Commission gave the go-ahead to a monitoring and services agreement with Illinois-based company Track Group Inc.

Seven Pahrump athletes sign to compete in college

Jazmyne Turner will be running track at Missouri Valley College next year, and how she got there shows how much recruiting has changed in college sports.

Pahrump’s super spellers display their smarts

The Floyd Elementary School Library was a scene of utter excitement and incredible pride as the best spellers from each of the valley’s four elementary schools stepped into the spotlight to showcase their skills during the Pahrump Valley 2020 Spelling Bee.

Friends of the Belmont Courthouse publish newsletter

This past December was a very exciting month for the Friends of the Belmont Courthouse, as the organization had the first issue of its brand new newsletter published for the public’s enjoyment.

Nye County Commission focuses on Ishani Ridge bond monies

After approving the acceptance of a bond payment for the uncompleted Ishani Ridge subdivision in Pahrump, the Nye County Commission followed up with an agenda item delineating the exact fund into which that money will be deposited.