Earth Odyssey by Mark Hertsgaard

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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.

About Mark Hertsgaard

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Mark Hertsgaard is the author of three previous books, in-cluding On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency and A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. He has contributed to the New York Times, The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, Outside, Vanity Fair, the Nation, and numerous other publications at home and abroad. He teaches nonfiction writing at Johns Hopkins University and lives near Washington, D. C.
Published January 21, 2009 by Broadway Books. 388 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology, Professional & Technical, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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Freelance journalist Hertsgaard (A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles, 1995, etc.) circles the earth to gauge the extent of environmental destruction and local peoples’ attitude toward it—and, by extension, whether the species will survive the 21st century.

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Publishers Weekly

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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;

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Chongqing is dim, we learn, because this industrial city has some of the worst air pollution in China, "which makes it a strong candidate for the most polluted city in the world."

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