Earth Odyssey By Mark Hertsgaard
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Editorial Reviews Review Paying his own way, Mark Hertsgaard set out on a world tour in 1991 wondering what people thought of environmental problems. Earth Odyssey is his result, a sweeping and provocative work of travel and serious reporting that covers 19 countries and reveals, with often stark reality and vision, the legacy and prospects for our global environment. Hertsgaard focuses on and reveals much of his story through the people who guide him and whom he meets along the way. After touring a state-owned paper factory in Chongqing, China, and seeing billowing clouds of chlorine and foaming rivers, Hertsgaard hears his guide and interpreter Zhenbing mourning for his country. In Sudan, Hertsgaard visits areas of extreme famine and poverty, where "the environment is no abstraction" to the people who live there. Through interviews with Vaclav Havel, Jacques Cousteau, and Al Gore, as well as research and philosophy about the roles of industry and technology, the global environmental picture is etched skillfully chapter by chapter. When at Africa's Lake Turkana, Hertsgaard delineates in clarity and detail the evolution of our species and the history of technology to build perspective on our current lifestyles, values, and environmental problems. Earth Odyssey is not only a good book, but an important one--even essential--grasping the true human predicament as we face a worldwide environmental breakdown.--Byron Ricks From Publishers Weekly 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. Agent, Ellen Levine. $40,000 ad/promo; first serial to Atlantic Monthly; author tour. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.