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Wasted World: How Our Consumption Challenges the Planet Hardcover – April 15, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is a fresh new way of looking at our core problems on the planet—a different lens to try to understand why we’re having such problems and how we might find better paths.”
(Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet)



“Rob Hengeveld provides a broad history of humanity's impacts on Earth's life support systems, leading to today’s pivotal and dangerous moment.  Wasted World is a sobering read that provides us with an understanding of how this urgent situation came to be.  It is possible to pull Earth back from the brink—if we act on Hengeveld’s message.”
(Gretchen Daily, Stanford University)



“In this detailed study, biogeographer Hengeveld (affiliated with the Centre for Ecosystem Studies of Alterra, Wageningen, the Netherlands) tackles the dilemma of reconciling the way we live with the future effect our habits will have on the planet. Tracing our origins from the first reproducing cells to today’s massive global economy, Hengeveld describes how all life depends on energy to thrive.”


(Publishers Weekly)



“In profiling the massive buildup of global waste and its consequent threat to the environment, Hengeveld doesn’t mince words here in arguing that the primary culprit behind this crisis is overpopulation. Beginning with an overview of the energy-consumption cycles observed in most natural organisms, where waste products are usually recycled back into the earth, Hengeveld catalogs the obvious evidence that humankind has long passed the point of environmental equilibrium. His core chapters on exhausting and wasting resources highlight the damage done by deforesting, overexploiting fossil fuels, and tainting our freshwater supplies while demonstrating how all of these problems have been triggered by runaway societal expansion.”




(Booklist)

“Ecologist Rob Hengeveld’s Wasted World is a monumental cri de Coeur. . . . In Wasted World, Hengeveld’s intellectual compass is firmly aligned with the powerful decades-old environmental rhetoric of thinkers such as environmentalist Donella Meadows (co-author of The Limits to Growth; Universe Books, 1972) and population biologist Paul Ehrlich. Hengeveld argues that we are depleting resources and polluting the environment faster than human survival can bear — literally ‘wasting’ the planet.To his credit, Hengeveld squanders no space on using resources more efficiently in support of economic growth. He homes in on how the human population already exceeds Earth's capacity.”

(Nature)

“The historical coverage is . . . impressive in helping to expose how centuries of human development have landed us here, with society on the brink of collapse.  Given the book’s title, one would be forgiven for thinking that this work is just about waste: it is, but it is more besides. Rob Hengeveld successfully reveals how population size, resource exploitation and the threat of system collapse are all interrelated issues that humanity must face up to if it is to avert collapse and have a future on planet Earth.”
(Times Higher Education)

About the Author

 

Rob Hengeveld is affiliated with the Centre for Ecosystem Studies of Alterra, Wageningen, the Netherlands, and was an honorary professor in the Department of Animal Ecology at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (April 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226326993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226326993
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,961,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Guttersnipe Das on June 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Rob Hengeveld, Wasted World: How Our Consumption Challenges the Planet
The University of Chicago Press, 2012

If I could choose the next runaway bestseller, the next 'Tuesdays with Morrie' - 206 weeks on the NYTimes bestseller list! - it would be this brilliant and essential book. That will never happen. This has got to be one of the least heart-warming books on the planet. And one of the most important.

I admit I have become fond of books that begin, as this one does, with the statement that the book "is not optimistic in its contents or in its conclusions." What a relief. The author intends to treat me as an adult and tell me the truth. I've grown leery of optimists. If the firemen arrive while your house is in flames, do you demand that they stop first on your doorstep and tell you that your future is rosy?

We are using up the last of our resources and burying ourselves in waste. We have very nearly reached the end, and we still go on pretending that nothing is happening, that growth is eternal, that we have, in some hidden pocket, unlimited worlds to squander.

Chapter by chapter, Rob Hengeveld shows what we have done - the exhaustion of resources, the loss of biodiversity, the creation of a world that is ever-more abstract and prone to collapse. I imagined him sometimes as a cranky uncle, determined to explain everything so that even I (who am a little slow) will understand. Step by step, process by process, he goes on explaining, not necessarily cheerful, but painstaking and patient.

The great benefit (even pleasure) of this book is that on nearly every page I found myself thinking, "Yes, I heard about that before, but I did not understand it.
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By Hugo Albert Besemer on March 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This books gives an oversight from both biologival / ecological point of view as well as societal / political. A bit depressing story though
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