Alan Weisman has worked on seven continents and in more than 50 countries. He is the author of six books; his most recent, Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, is now in 13 foreign language editions.
Countdown (2013) was awarded the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the 2013 Paris Book Festival Prize for nonfiction, the 2014 Nautilus Gold Book Award, the Population Institute's 2014 Global Media Award for best book, and was a finalist for the Orion Book Award and the Books for a Better Life Award.
Alan's previous book, The World Without Us (2007), was a New York Times and international bestseller, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Orion Book Award, the Rachel Carson Prize, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and winner of the National Library of China's Wenjin Book Prize. It was named the top nonfiction book of 2007 by TIME, Entertainment Weekly, and Canada's National Post, and has been translated into 34 languages.
Alan is a co-founder of Homelands Productions. His writing has appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Orion, Audubon, Mother Jones, Discover, Condé Nast Traveler, Resurgence.
He is also the author of An Echo In My Blood (1999); Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World (1998); La Frontera: The United States Border With Mexico (1986); and We, Immortals (1979).
Alan has been a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and a professor of writing, journalism, and Latin American studies at Prescott College and the University of Arizona.
Alan and his wife, sculptor Beckie Kravetz, live in western Massachusetts.
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Alan Weisman speaks about his groundbreaking book, The World Without Us
Your new book, The World Without Us, poses a fascinating,
extraordinary thought experiment: if you take every living human off the Earth,
what traces of us would linger and what would disappear? It asks what might
happen to our world if humans vanished? What was the inspiration for your book?
For a long time I've sought some fresh, non-threatening approach to disarm readers' apprehensions about environmental destruction long enough that they might consider the impacts of unbridled human activity on the rest of nature and on our own fate. I've found that theoretically wiping humans off the face of the earth intrigues rather than frightens people.
At first glance, the research required to make educated predictions about the future on many parts of the planet seems incredibly daunting. How did you go about this task?
To understand how a world without people might be requires learning what the world was like before people existed which turns out to be different on every continent and island. And then, of course, there is the fact that two-thirds of the world is covered with water. What would the seas be like ...
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