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Earth Odyssey

Around the World in Search of Our Environmental Future

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 30, 1998 – An ambitious report on the global environmental crisis, Hertsgaard's (A Day in the Life) new book is based on his round-the-world odyssey, from 1991-1997. Refuting skeptics, he aims to show that Earth's ecological crisis is real and deepening. His frontline dispatches on air and water pollution, acid rain and resource depletion in China, Africa, Brazil, Thailand, Greece, Russia and Eastern Europe are chilling. Drawing on interviews with Czech president Vaclav Havel and energy expert Amory Lovins, as well as with public health officials, UN administrators, economists and Greenpeace activists, Hertsgaard details several interrelated crises: the worldwide impact of automobiles; runaway population growth; the environmental consequences of Western-influenced consumption patterns in developing nations; nuclear waste disposal, nuclear terrorism and the threat of nuclear war. Hertsgaard's travelogue is not without adventure: he retraces Winston Churchill's 1907 trip across Africa and explores the Amazon rain forest in a riverboat with a Brazilian family. Regarding the U.S., Hertsgaard proposes a "Global Green Deal" for the Clinton administration. The West, he says, should take the lead in uniting rich and poor nations by sponsoring public investments in nascent industries such as solar power. In addition, he suggests overhauling tax policies to encourage corporate giants to protect ecosystems. This eloquent wake-up call deserves a wide readership.
Earth Odyssey
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Nature
  • Published: Dec 29, 1998
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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