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Writer Alan Weisman will discuss the challenges overpopulation poses for Earth in Feb. 24 lecture at Iowa State

Posted February 19, 2014 in Ames, Community Web Exclusives

AMES, Iowa — Every four-and-a-half days, the Earth’s population increases by 1 million. It will reach 10 million by 2100. We may not ever reach that, says author and journalist Alan Weisman, because 7 billion people “are already turning the atmosphere into something unlivable.”

Weisman tackles population growth and the challenge it poses for a sustainable human future in his latest book. He will discuss “Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?” at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, in the Memorial Union Great Hall at Iowa State University. His talk is free and open to the public. It is part of the university’s Wildness, Wilderness and the Environmental Imagination series and the University Symposium on Sustainability.

For his book, Weisman visited more than 20 countries, seeking insight into how we could achieve a stable, optimum population and design an economy that allows for prosperity without endless growth. “In the entire history of biology, every species that outgrows its resource base suffers a population crash — a crash sometimes fatal to the entire species,” Weisman writes.

Weisman’s 2007 book, “The World Without Us,” was a New York Times and international best seller, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and named the year’s top nonfiction book by Time Magazine.

A former Fulbright Senior Scholar and a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Weisman is a senior editor and producer for Homelands Productions. He has reported from around the world for radio pieces airing on NPR, American Public Media and Public Radio International, and in articles appearing in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, Mother Jones and many others. His reporting has earned him appearances on “The Daily Show,” “Nova” and “The Today Show.” Weisman has received numerous awards for his writing and radio pieces. In addition, he teaches international journalism at the University of Arizona.

Weisman’s lecture is co-sponsored by Humanities Iowa, ISU’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment, the Office of Sustainability, The Green Umbrella and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body. More information about ISU lectures is available online at, or by calling 515-294-9935.

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