Wherever we look, population is the driver of the most toxic issues on the political agenda. But while prominent voices cry out for population control, few realise that the population bomb is already being defused. Half the world's women are having two children or fewer. Within a generation, the world's population will be falling. And we will all be getting very old.
So should we welcome the return to centre stage of the tribal elders? Or is humanity facing a fate worse than environmental apocalypse?
Brilliant, heretical and accessible to all, Fred Pearce takes on the matter that is fundamental to who we are and how we live, confronting our demographic demons.
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With his usual clarity and dash Fred Pearce brings us the best news we've heard in 10,000 years - that the human population should soon level out, at a number that should be quite manageable; and some of the problems that may seem so dire in truth are assets - including the rise in average age and the increase in migration. This isn't wishful thinking - it's hard science. And it changes everything. - Colin Tudge
Peoplequake is a debate-shaping book. Sobre, fascinating, it redraws the boundaries of the population debate. Pearce points out that the Earth could adequately meet the needs of a bigger population, but only once natural resources are shared more equally and managed using ecological principles. The population bomb would defuse itself even quicker if we tackled over-consumption by the rich instead of fretting about the poor having children. This brilliant book's insights could save many lives and stop many more from suffering. - Andrew Simms, Policy Director at the New Economics Forum
What a wonderfully rich and humane book! As a generation of newly-empowered women sweeps away our wrongheaded Malthusian nightmare, Fred Pearce demonstrates persuasively that the end of the population surge may well usher in a new era of ethnic tolerance, increased global integration and a period of kinder and more nurturing governance. - Ross Gelbspan, author of THE HEAT IS ON and BOILING POINT
One of Britain's most prolific and entertaining science writers - The Sunday Times
This very readable book is a hopeful counterblast to the misanthropic doom-mongering that dominates much of the population debate, and I finished it with a smile on my face ... Pearce's celebration of humanity makes this book a joy. - BBC Focus Magazine
This is a well written and important book ... we highly recommend (Fred Pearce's) book - everyone should be grateful that he wrote it - New Scientist
Super-optimistic ... Even those who disagree should welcome this articulate contribution to a much needed debate. - Financial Times
Fred Pearce has reported on environment, popular science and development issues from over 60 countries during the past 20 years and is the recipient of many awards for both his journalism and his books. His books have been translated into 16 languages. When the Rivers Run Dry was voted among the all-time 'Top 50 Sustainability Books' by the University of Cambridge's Programme for Sustainable Leadership. Confessions of an Eco Sinner, his most recent work, was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of a 2008 IVCA Clarion Award. He is the environment and development consultant for the New Scientist and writes regularly for the Guardian. He is a frequent broadcaster and speaker, and has given public presentations on all six populated continents in the past four years.