* The first global travel book that combines first-hand observation with a rigorous agenda for environmental action, now shortlisted for the BP Natural World Book Prize
From toxic polluted cityscapes of industrial China to poverty-stricken tribes in Sudan, from children's leukaemia wards in ex-soviet nuclear disaster zones to the conference tables of Rio's Earth Summit, Mark Hertsgaard's quest around the globe forms an urgent investigation into the future of the environment. The ecological ravages of capitalist hyperconsumption and communist mismanagement can only worsen as developing nations - desperately trying to bridge the ancient divide between rich and poor - achieve 'progress' at the expense of environmental degradation. Questioning the credibility of sustainable development with leading figures such as Al Gore and Jacques Cousteau, Mark Hertsgaard depicts with an eye for anecdote and human detail the activities of government agencies, business leaders and citizen activists engaged in saving (or destroying) the environment. Whether describing the lethal appeal of the automobile or detailing the impact of Amazonian deforestation on world climate change, his first-hand reportage and storyteller's sense of narrative produce a vital, edifying - and even hopeful - call for action. Time is running out.
A brilliant integration of global environmental trends and local environmental truths - a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how population growth and environmental deterioration are affecting the human prospect - Lester R. Brown, President, Worldwatch Institute
Gifted reporter Mark Hertsgaard has taken the planet for his beat and he has delivered the goods; if you want to understand the next century, this is the required background reading - Bill McKibben, author of THE END OF NATURE
A brilliant, complex and ultimately hopeful analysis which shines a light into the darkness of forecast chaos ... (we) should make this marvellous book required reading for all politicians as well as for the rest of us - THE TIMES
Hertsgaard presents an elegant portrait of the human species, full of character, dignity, perseverance and strength - GEOGRAPHICAL