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God's Last Offer: Negotiating for a Sustainable Future Hardcover – April 19, 1999

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The window of opportunity is closing fast," cautions World Watch editor Ayres, who urges us to seize "God's last offer" of precious time and to reverse the global trends that threaten ecological catastrophe and societal collapse. His levelheaded, closely argued manifesto identifies "four spikes" of revolutionary change that endanger planetary survival: first, global warming caused by a rise in carbon dioxide emissions due to overreliance on fossil fuels; second, loss of biodiversity through mass extinctions of plant and animal species; third, a surge of unsustainable, resource-depleting consumption as global media and advertising goad the rest of the world to ape the West's consumerist binge; finally, exploding population growth, which exacerbates all the other trends. Ayres's painstaking analysis of these problems, and of how they feed into one another, presents a forceful challenge to those who deny that a crisis exists or minimize its seriousness. Sifting through the ecopolitical debates of the last quarter century, Ayres dismantles the perceptual obstructions that block our awareness of a crisis: truncated news, propaganda by vested interests, diversionary disputes, apathy, fragmentation of knowledge. While his reflective essay comes up short in offering specific solutions, its primary aim is to reorient thinking, and in that it succeeds, making it a vital companion to the Worldwatch Institute's popular annual report, State of the World.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ayres, editorial director of the environmental group Worldwatch, sees the world's recent spate of natural and economic disasters all stemming from human degradation of the planet. Hurricanes, floods, droughts, and the collapse of Asian economies, Ayres argues, are the result of four interconnected threats: the rise of carbon gas emissions, increasing extinctions of plant and animal species, an unsustainable rate of consumption, and an ever-growing human population. Together they have not only altered our weather patterns (e.g., global warming), they have put unbearable stresses on national economies, resulting in foundering currencies and roller-coaster financial markets. Ayres delineates several of these connected environmental and economic catastrophes, such as the drying of the Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches from Texas to South Dakota and provides irrigation for America's breadbasket. But this isn't scaremongering. Objective and detailed, it's must reading for all concerned about the fate of Earth and its inhabitants. Brian McCombie
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (April 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568581254
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568581255
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,432,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on February 17, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of us who are vitally interested in the details surrounding the global assault on the biosphere caused by humankind and the massive environmental changes wreaked on the earth by technological innovation and mass consumerism, this is a critically important book to read. In clear, unemotional, and incontrovertible terms, author Ed Ayres lays out the nature of each of the four major environmental threats, and traces each of them to their manifesting sources. Using the data collected as the editorial director of the environmental group Worldwatch, the author mounts a sometimes passionate, and always convincing argument against the wall of negative environmental change being unleashed on the earth by science and technology gone absolutely wild.
After briefly summarizing the ways in which the overall environmental threats are interconnected with our overall problems and our unnecessarily wasteful materialistic lifestyles, he identifies the four most dangerous master processes (or mega-phenomena) that are quickly altering the basis for biological life on earth. First among these is the rise on carbon gas emissions, which he links to the overuse of private automobile transportation and the rapidly dwindling degree of forestation in the world, especially in the Amazon area of the new hemisphere. Among other things, this is quickly changing the nature of the world's weather, and this single fact is extremely worrying to Ayres. Next he describes the ways in which the various technological implementations have expedited the rate of species extinction, rapidly depleted and profoundly weakening the primordial basis for life on the planet itself.
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Format: Hardcover
I was impressed with the compilation of the massive amounts of information about the environment put in a way that creates an illumination of the actual problem that exists on earth. More impressively, it gives practical solutions that each of us personally can work to do in our lives.
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Format: Hardcover
Ayers is brilliant! I could not put the book down! In his characteristic style (from "Worldwatch") Ayers paints a clear picture of the dangerous place we are headed (if not already there) -a world that will require a collective concentrated focus on mitigation of the effects of the four megaphenomena (see above), and a reversal of those trends, if our species is to survive. This book is not for the light-hearted. If you have the slightest shade of "green" in your soul, this book will give you a paradigm shift that will change your life. If you don't, you will.
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By Dr.J on September 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Absolutely terrific! A highly readable and well-documented account of the dire future we face if changes aren't made. Ayres covers all the major environmental issues, especially the underlying core problem of overpopulation. And he explains how "information fragmentation" prevents us from knowing how serious the problems really are. Anyone even mildly interested in what humans are doing to the planet should read this book!
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By A Customer on August 25, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I could afford to, I would buy a copy of this book for everyone I know and almost everyone I encounter, on the off-chance that they might read it and take personal action (or at least, begin to connect the dots between their own consumer frenzy and the fate of the planet). Although I was already aware - in fragments - of most of the looming crises mentioned in the book, Ayres puts it all together and makes causal connections: between the Aswan Dam and famine in the Middle East; between the shortage of wheat in China and rising prices in America; and if course, between a society gone mad for SUVs, fast food and mansions in the suburbs and the potential (or rather, current) disastrous changes in the world climate. The message of the book is that life as we know it is no longer sustainable, but if we act now, and act together (Ayres also makes a wonderful case for community as opposed to "survivalism") there is hope not only for life on this planet, but a better life for its inhabitants. Read this book; your life may depend on it. And pass it on.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On November 1999, Time magazine published a set of fascinating and thought-provoking articles on a variety of subjects entitled "Visions of the 21st Century". Amongst these articles was one authored by Ed Ayres under the title "Will We Still Eat Meat?" and what a fascinating couple of pages worth of statistics and insight for those intelligent and sensitive enough to care!

While only the text of it can be easily found on the web ([...] ), it summarizes eloquently some of the resource-availability-and-impact issues which are masterfully detailed in this extremely important book "God's Last Offer: Negotiating for a Sustainable Future".

Civilized countries should revise their educational programs to incorporate this book into their systems while there may be time to revert some of the human-made ecological disasters that result from the common "Quick Buck" mentality and particularly the cruelty associated with animal meat consumption - but, unfortunately they will not. Well established meat profiting industries, as well as, idiotic religious fervor will get in the way to promote the perpetual and biggest crime of humanity. What a shame!

By all means - BUY THIS BOOK if you haven't.
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