What do City speculators, Gulf oil sheikhs, Chinese entrepreneurs, big-name financiers like George Soros and industry titans like Richard Branson buy when they go shopping? Land. Parcels the size of Wales are being snapped up across the plains of Africa, the paddy fields of Southeast Asia, the jungles of the Amazon and the prairies of Eastern Europe. Why? The money men will tell you that their investments will bring an end to world famine. But is this more about fat profits and food security for the few?
The race is on to grab the world’s most precious and irreplaceable resource. In this brilliant piece of investigative journalism Fred Pearce moves from boardroom and trading floor to goat-herder’s hut and flooded forest. The result is an eye-opening, extraordinarily important examination of the most profound ethical and economic issue in the world today.
How much of the planet does it takes to make your stuff? How much water does it take to grow the cotton for your t-shirt?
Why do we need to find greener types of energy?
What does it matter if the rainforests are being cut down?
Global warming, pollution, water shortages, ice caps melting . . .
What does it all mean?
Pull the tabs, lift the flaps and open up the amazing pops and discover the answers to these questions and more. Find out what YOU can do to help our planet stay green!
Climate change is not a matter of gradually increasing temperatures. New scientific findings about how our planet works show that it does not do gradual change. Under pressure, it lurches into another mode of operation. Man-made global warming is on the verge of unleashing unstoppable planetary forces. Biological and geological monsters are being woken, and they will consume us. Virtually overnight Nature's revenge will be sudden and brutal, like a climatic tsunami sweeping across the globe. No question, we are the last generation to live with any kind of climatic stability.
In this impassioned report, Fred Pearce travels the world on the story to end them all. Most troubling, while visiting the places where the action may start: deep in the Amazon, high in the Arctic and among the bogs of Siberia, he uncovers the first signs that nature's revenge is already under way.
Wherever we look, population is the driver of the most toxic issues on the political agenda. But the population bomb is 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.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Ever wondered if declaring support for fair-trade and then chucking Kenyan beans from your shopping trolley to reduce food miles really added up? Or whether the women in Bangladeshi sweatshops really want you to stop buying the clothes from their sewing machines? Or how the system works when you dump stuff but never buy from a charity shop?
While none of us should stop trying, it was never easy being green. Mindful of his footprint, Fred goes in search of the source of the cotton in his shirt, the prawns in his curry and the people who grew, mined or made all his stuff in an attempt to discover the true story behind our everyday things. This compelling story of his travels moves green thinking on to a new, more sophisticated plane.
The world is running out of water. Even in the UK our reservoirs empty and there are drought warnings and hose pipe bans each year. Some of world's largest rivers now trickle into sand miles from the ocean, exhausted by human need. Water is 'the new oil' - except we can live without oil; there are no alternatives to fresh water.
From Kent to Kenya, Fred Pearce explores the complex origins of the growing world water crisis. His vivid reportage reveals the personal stories behind failing rivers, barren fields, pollution, desertification, floods and water wars.
Is there hope? Yes - but only if we revolutionize the way we treat water. This phenomenally important book shows us just how essential it is that each one of us takes responsibility for the way we use this crucial resource now - before all our rivers run dry.
Fred Pearce is a former news editor at New Scientist magazine, and is currently its environment and development consultant. He also writes regularly for the Independent and the Times Higher Education Supplement, the Boston Globe and Foreign Policy in the US and has written reports and extended journalism for WWF, the UN Environment Programme, the Red Cross, UNESCO, the World Bank and the UK Environment Agency. He is syndicated in Japan, Australia and elsewhere and has filed articles from more than 50 countries in the past decade.
He was voted BEMA Environment Journalist of the Year in 2001 and has been short-listed for the same award in 2000, 2002 and 2003. He is a past recipient of the Peter Kent Conservation Book Award and the TES Junior Information Book Award.
He is a regular broadcaster on radio and TV, with interview credits from Today to Richard and Judy to the Open University.