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An “informative and vividly reported book” that goes beyond the politics of climate change to explore practical ways we can adapt and survive (San Francisco Chronicle).
 
Journalist Mark Hertsgaard has reported on global warming for outlets including the New Yorker, NPR, Time, and Vanity Fair. But it was only after he became a father that he started thinking about the two billion young people worldwide who will spend the rest of their lives coping with mounting climate disruption.
 
In Hot, he presents a well-researched blueprint for how all of us―parents, communities, companies, and countries―can navigate this unavoidable new era. Reporting from across the nation and around the world, Hertsgaard provides examples of ambitious attempts to mitigate the effects of sea-level rise, mega-storms, famine, and other threats—and an “urgent message . . . that citizens and governments cannot afford to ignore” (The Boston Globe).
 
“This readable, passionate book is surprisingly optimistic: Seattle, Chicago, and New York are making long-term, comprehensive plans for flooding and drought. Impoverished farmers in the already drought-stricken African Sahel have discovered how to substantially improve yields and decrease malnutrition by growing trees among their crops, and the technique has spread across the region; Bangladeshis, some of the poorest and most flood-vulnerable yet resilient people on earth, are developing imaginative innovations such as weaving floating gardens from water hyacinth that lift with rising water. Contrasting the Netherlands’ 200-year flood plans to the New Orleans Katrina disaster, Hertsgaard points out that social structures, even more than technology, will determine success, and persuasively argues that human survival depends on bottom-up, citizen-driven government action.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“His analysis of the impact of global warming on industries as different as winemaking and insurance is intriguing, and his well-supported conclusion that social change can beat back climate change is inspiring . . . an exceptionally productive approach to a confounding reality.” —Booklist
 
“This is an important book.” —Bill McKibben
Like many of us, Mark Hertsgaard has long worried about the declining health of our environment. But in 1991, he decided to act on his concern and investigate the escalating crisis for himself. Traveling on his own dime, he embarked on an odyssey lasting most of the decade and spanning nineteen countries. Now, in Earth Odyssey, he reports on our environmental predicament through the eyes of the people who live it.

From the gilded boardrooms of Paris to the traffic-clogged streets of Bangkok, we travel from the deep human past to our still unfolding future. Much of the story revolves around people like Zhenbing, Hertsgaard's charismatic interpreter in China, whose desire to escape poverty leaves him indifferent to his country's horrific air and water pollution. We also meet Garang, a proud Dinka tribesman whose response to Sudan's famine shows the difficulty of building an environmentally sustainable future without bridging the gap between rich and poor. Drawing on interviews with Václav Havel, Al Gore, Jacques Cousteau, and numerous other prominent figures, Hertsgaard offers fresh insight into such complex issues as humanity's growing addiction to the automobile, the insidious spread of nuclear technology, and the inevitable tension between unfettered capitalism and the health of the biosphere.

Earth Odyssey is a vivid, passionate narrative about one man's journey around the world in search of the answer to the most important question of our time: Is the future of the human species at risk? Combining first-rate reportage with irresistible storytelling, Mark Hertsgaard has written an essential--and ultimately hopeful--book about the uncertain fate of humankind.


From the Hardcover edition.
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