Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Coming Population Crash

The Coming Population Crash and our Planet’s Surprising Future looked like it was going to be a book filled with doom and gloom about how we were all going to die. That was not the case. Fred Pearce, the author, presents a warning about how our planet may not be able to continue to support us, but also shows how we could prevent this from happening.

The Coming Population Crash begins with historical information about previous fears of overpopulation and birthrates of the past. Pearce then continues to give portraits of various countries’ current fertility rates and struggles with population (whether it be too high or too small), and finishes the book with various ways our future could turn out.

What I liked best about The Coming Population Crash is that it taught me things I didn’t know, but, unlike many of the other books that presented new information, I felt like I understood what I was taught. Pearce writes in a style that can be understood by all, and he avoids “science talk” even though his subject could certainly be discussed in that vernacular. Rather than sticking solely to the big picture, Pearce makes his points by focusing on particular countries, using individual people’s stories which make the problems much more tangible.

A book simply about population sounds like it might be boring; I certainly thought it would be. But a book about population also means a book about eugenics, about birth control, about one-child policy, about feminism, about poverty, about environmentalism, about immigration. And those things are all interesting.

I liked The Coming Population Crash a lot. It not only made me think, but it also made me want to keep reading. I was planning on rating it 4/5, but then I asked myself, “What kept it from getting a five?” and I had no answer. So, 5/5 it is. I recommend it.

Watch Jon Stewart’s interview with Fred Pearce (It's a good one!)

Buy the book


  1. What are some of Pearce's main suggestions about actions we can take?

  2. Basically, our main concern now isn't the number of people being born, but the amount of natural resources each person uses. All the the things we're being told to do in order to help the environment (like use less energy) will help to make the world a place that can continue to support humans.

    Thanks for asking!

  3. I love eugenics. Not like I'm glad it exists, but I find eugenics fascinating to study. Go Battle Creek!