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Ten Billion
 
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Ten Billion [Format Kindle]

Stephen Emmott

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

This is a book about us.
 
It’s a book about you, your children, your parents, your friends. It’s about every one of us. It’s about our failure: failure as individuals, the failure of business, and the failure of our politicians.
 
It’s about the unprecedented planetary emergency we’ve created.
 
It’s about the future of us.
 
Earth is home to millions of species.
 
Just one dominates it. Us.
 
Our cleverness, our inventiveness, and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. In fact, we are having a profound impact on it.
 
Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness, and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face.
 
And every one of these problems is accelerating as we continue to grow toward a population of ten billion.
 
In fact, I believe we can rightly call the situation we’re in right now an emergency—an unprecedented planetary emergency.
 
This is the reason I have written this book.
 
I am a scientist.
 
I lead a lab, in Cambridge, England, which is home to a unique collection of amazing young scientists. We conduct research into complex systems, including the climate system and ecosystems, as well as the impact of us humans on the earth.
 
Science is ultimately about understanding. And this is what we try to do: to understand the earth’s climate, and the behavior of the earth’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems—from its microbial communities to its forests—and to predict how these vital planetary systems will respond to change.
 
Change caused by us.
 
We humans emerged as a species about 200,000 years ago. In geological time, that is really incredibly recent.
 
Just over 10,000 years ago, there were one million of us.
 
By 1800, just over two hundred years ago, there were one billion of us.
 
By 1960, fifty years ago, there were three billion of us.
 
There are now over seven billion of us.
 
By 2050, your children, or your children’s children, will be living on a planet with at least nine billion other people.
 
Sometime toward the end of this century, there will be at least ten billion of us. Possibly more.
 
 

How did we get to where we are now?
 
We got to where we are now through a number of civilization- and society-shaping “events”; most notably, the agricultural revolution, the scientific revolution, and—in the West—the public-health revolution.
 
These events have fundamentally shaped how we live, and have fundamentally shaped our planet. Their legacy will continue to shape our future. So we need to look at our growth and activities through the lens of these developments.
 



By 1800 the global population had reached one billion.
 
One of the principal reasons for this growth was the invention of agriculture. The “agricultural revolution” enabled us to go from being hunter-gatherers to highly organized producers of food, and allowed our population to grow.
 
A useful way to think of the development and importance of agriculture is in terms of at least three agricultural “revolutions.” The first took place over 10,000 years ago. This was the domestication of animals and the cultivation of plant types.
 
The second agricultural revolution was between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. This was a revolution in agricultural productivity and the mechanization of food production.
 
The third happened between the 1950s and 2000s; the so-called “green revolution.”
 
But there’s another story here: the start of a fundamental transformation—of land use—by humans.
 



One hundred and thirty years later, we had grown to two billion.
 
It was 1930. The impact of another revolution—the industrial revolution—was being felt. The world was being transformed by manufacturing, technological innovation, new industrial processes, and transportation.
 
The continuing expansion of agriculture and the revolution in public health enabled us to continue to grow—rapidly.
 
But there’s another story here too: the start of our lethal addiction to coal, oil, and gas as our principal sources of energy.
 



Thirty years later, we had grown to three billion.
 
It was 1960, and we were in the middle of a food revolution. There were more of us. Far more of us. We needed more food. Far more food. More than the established agricultural system could provide.
 
What became known as the green revolution provided this extra food.
 
It did so through:
 
The industrial-scale use of chemical pesticides, chemical herbicides, and chemical fertilizers;
 
an unprecedented expansion of land use;
 
and the wholesale industrialization of the entire food production system. This included the industrialization of raising and harvesting animals for food, from the rise of industrial-scale “factory fishing” fleets to battery farming of pigs, poultry, and beef.
 
This revolution came at a huge cost to the environment, in terms of:
 
 
loss of habitat;
pollution;
overfishing.
 
 
It also set in motion an unprecedented decline of species and the start of the degradation of entire ecosystems.
 
 

By 1980, twenty years later, there were four billion of us on the planet.
 
The green revolution had produced much more food. That made food cheaper.
In turn, that meant we had more money to spend. And we had started to spend it on “stuff”: televisions, video recorders, Walkmans, hair dryers, cars, and clothes. And we also started to spend it on vacations. Far more vacations.
 
At the center of this spending spree was the astonishing growth of transportation.
 
In 1960 there were 100 million cars on the world’s roads—by 1980 there were 300 million.
 
With this came a massive expansion of road net- works—carving up entire countries, further increasing loss of habitat for other species.
 
In 1960 we flew 62 billion passenger miles. In 1980 we flew 620 billion passenger miles.
Global shipping grew at a similarly astonishing rate. All of the stuff we were buying, plus all of the food we were consuming, plus all the raw materials and resources required to make everything was being shipped around the world.
 


 
Just ten years later, in 1990, there were five billion of us.
 
By this point, initial signs of the consequences of our growth were starting to show.
Not the least of these was on water.
 
Our demand for water—not just the water we drank, but the water we needed for food production and to make all the stuff we were consuming— was going through the roof.
 
But something was starting to happen to water. Back in 1984, journalists reported from Ethiopia about a famine of biblical proportions caused by widespread drought.
 
That, it seemed, was “over there,” in Africa. Except that it wasn’t just happening “over there,” in Africa. Unusual drought, and unusual flooding, was increasing everywhere: Australia, Asia, Europe, the United States.
 
Water, a vital resource we had thought of as abundant, was now suddenly something that had the potential to be scarce.
 



By the year 2000, there were six billion of us.
 
By this point it was becoming clear to the world’s scientific community that the accumulation of CO2, methane, and other green- house gases in the atmosphere—as a result of agriculture, land use, and the production, processing, and transportation of everything we were consuming—was changing the climate. And that, as a result, we had a serious problem on our hands.

Revue de presse

“A rallying call to arms. . . . Succinct and righteously pessimistic. . . . [with] an indispensible message to galvanize a world in potential crisis.”
    —Kirkus Reviews
 

Praise from the U.K. for TEN BILLION

“The cumulative effect of [Emmott’s] uncluttered, unadorned prose, buttressed with graphs and illustrations, is significant. . . . A spine-chilling warning of the environmental disaster that awaits the Earth.”
    —The Daily Telegraph (4 stars)
 
“Powerful. . . . Compelling. . . . The shift in thinking that will be needed if we are to prepare ourselves for living in a different world begins with reading Emmott's indispensable book.”
    --The Guardian 
 
"A stark, simple and short warning about the coming catastrophe, which [Emmott] feels is inevitable, resulting from human overpopulation and over-exploitation of the world’s resources. . . . A valuable contribution to rekindling a discussion on global population that has waxed and waned in the two centuries since Thomas Robert Malthus first brought the issue to public attention."
      --Financial Times

Acclaim for the theater production of TEN BILLION, performed by Stephen Emmott at London's Royal Court Theatre:

"This an hour of Matrix moments, of reminders of what underlies our daily lives. It's freeing to face the facts as well as alarming. . . . It informs, unsettles, provokes. Job done." --The Times (London)

"Professor Emmott argues his case with an implacable logic. He is quiet, humane and deeply concerned and when he says . . . 'I think we're fucked,' you have to believe him." --The Guardian (London)

"A new kind of talk . . . a daring one-man show in which Emmott desperately strives to pull together into one grand and devastating portrait the many ways we are impacting the planet." --New Scientist

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Amazon.com: 3.5 étoiles sur 5  48 commentaires
24 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Doomsday Primer 11 septembre 2013
Par David Wineberg - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Ten Billion is top line summary of where we are in terms of near total destruction of the Earth as we know it. It provides the usual top line stats, some startling photos, and a lot of justifiably pessimistic and realistic potential outcomes. Basically we're doing nothing at all to stop the total wreck of the planet, even though we see it coming, clearly and precisely.

We continue to waste resources at ever more incredible rates. We waste four liters of water to produce a one liter plastic water bottle that we throw away after most of the liter of water inside has been consumed. We waste 800 gallons of water to produce a burger. At the same time, when 40% of arable land is already employed in agriculture, we need to double production by 2050 to accommodate added population.

Even the most optimistic scenarios regarding another green revolution are dependent on climate being stable, but it's anything but as wildfires increase, melting accelerates, hurricanes become larger and fiercer, tornados are gigantic, massive flooding is widespread, etc.

Emmott frames it this way: if we knew an asteroid would hit the Earth on a certain day and wipe out a third of the world, we would mobilize every scientist, bureaucrat, CEO and soldier to deal with it. Well, an equivalent disaster is headed this way, and we aren't just doing nothing about it, we're actively ignoring and denying it.

This will mean wars, as I've been predicting for years. Emmott says every climate conference he goes to these days is attended by the military.

"The biggest most important experiment on Earth is the one we're conducting right now, on Earth itself." And the people conducting it have no idea what they're doing.

David Wineberg
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Massively Important 14 septembre 2013
Par Joshua Voiles - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I experienced this as critical reading, written in a massively accessible way.

When you consider the enormous challenges we are currently facing and the unprecedented changes we must make in order to thrive - massive accessibility for a mass audience is critically important.

This book serves its purpose perfectly. If you're looking for counter arguments and follow-up research, there is an abundance of it available. But I think we've moved past the "research" phase and it'll serve us to start taking massive action.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wake up everyone! 13 septembre 2013
Par YorkPip007 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This is a must read book. It is written to be easily accessible and it is a wake up call for us (because it is 'us' who are the problem) to begin to change our behaviors; and for politicians to start addressing some of the issues that Professor Emmott outlines. It's not a book about over population. It's a book about how we misuse the planet's vital resources, and how close we are to an irreversible tipping point.
14 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Future as Nightmare The Disaster Humanity is bringing upon itself Diagnosis without real Prescriptions for Cure 11 août 2013
Par Shalom Freedman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The thesis of this book is that Humanity is on the way to Disaster. It argues that we are already in to a period which may one day be understood as the Sixth Great Extinction Earth has suffered. Only now it is not through natural forces that Disaster has come but through Humanity's radically transforming the Earth and its environment. Emmott tells very briefly and with accompanying graphic illustrations the development of Humanity in population and resources. He places emphasis on the radical transformation of the past century and one half , and projects that Humanity will reach by 2050 ten-billion. He shows what is happening in relation to Food resources, Land, Water, the Atmosphere. He argues that we are over-consuming Earth's resources, and poisoning the atmosphere and water.
His text is condensed and brief and this whole book can be read easily in an hour or two. But he is very clear in his writing.
The layout of the book is bothersome especially as the author is concerned with the environment. There are many blank pages or pages of a single line or two. A short and small book in appearance, this book in content is even shorter and smaller.
But I found it to contain much ( In no way verified by me)interesting and disturbing information. One gets a kind of capsule history of human development in relation to the environment.
Where I found the book wanting was in its prescriptions of how Humanity can contend with the challenges of global warming, global food shortage, global pollution of the seas, global depletion of minerals, global overpopulation. The author recommends that each of us consume less, do a bit less 'recreational eating'. But he really presents no overall plan telling Humanity how to contend with the challenges he outlines. This is as I see it the foremost shortcoming of the work. But again I am not qualified to evaluate the major claims he makes in regard to the disaster we are bringing upon ourselves.
11 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Thoughtful 4 août 2013
Par Robert McLean - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Stephen Emmott's look at earth's burgeoning population is thoughtful, relatively short and worth the time it takes to read, particularly if you have an interest in demographics.
Emmott's book in written in an almost point-like style, making it accessible and so is a little like a series of observations.
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