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Ten Billion

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,430 ratings  ·  274 reviews

Just over two hundred years ago, there were one billion humans on Earth.

There are now over seven billion of us.

And, sometime this century, the world population will reach at least ten billion.

Deforestation. Desertification. Species extinction. Global warming. Growing threats to food and water. The driving issues of our times are the result of one huge pro
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Vintage
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  1,430 ratings  ·  274 reviews

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Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
First things first: this guy works for microsoft, and half of the book is empty pages, yet he says the solution is to diminuish consumption? OK guy, how about giving an example before selling your book?

Then, there is almost no mention to the fact that the major responsible for the current state of affairs are government policies and corporations actions, and he mixes that with the single consumer. I guess that has got nothing to do with the fact that he works for microsoft.

How about the fact tha
Jose Moa
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecologism
Tis book is written by a scientist whoe lab is at the forefront of research into complex natural systems.

Is a sort of scientific SOS about human supervivence yet in some way hopeless ,is a really depressing book.

After read the book one have the sensation of awake and meet oneself in the nightmare of the incredible anticipation environemental movie Soylent Green by Richard Fleischer and with Charlton Heston as the main character.
Is a book of real facts and indestructible logical silogisms built w
George Guven
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most phenomenal, hard hitting, profound books I've read in a very long time. It's a quick, punchy read that really drives home the real costs of the unsustainable decadence of the human race at the expense of this planet's fragile ecosystems.
I feel genuinely guilty for what I can only view as a "debauched" lifestyle (intensified more so perhaps by the fact that tomorrow I will be flying 4,000 miles to the USA...)
I already want to do something to alleviate the issues identified in th
Mar 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Content wise, I'm 100% behind this book. I really wanted to love it so I could recommend it to people, because I want everyone to know about these issues. BUT turns out I spent the whole time reading it borderline pissed off. One obvious issue is that for a book that's entirely about our total lack of sustainable use of resources, each page has about 10% usage. A significant amount of pages have only 1-2 sentences on them, which also just felt like a cheap DRAMA trick. The arguments often droppe ...more
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are many important books that must be read. However, I think I just read the most important book of our time, written by an active scientist involved in the science of which he writes. The book is beautiful. Short, to the point, but each point and arrow to the very heart of our most critical problems. Thank you Stephen Emmott for caring enough to write about these facts and put the difficult question out there, with such simplistic clarity. Now everyone just needs to read this.
Nanna Elisabeth
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most life-changing book I have ever read in my short, but entire life. It left me stunned, unable to actually understand, what exactly I had just read. It made me afraid. Really afraid. It made me doubt so many of my beliefs in life. I don't know if life will ever be the same again, but my deep interest in getting knowledge, getting to know the truth, makes me happy about all this. I'm glad, that I've read this book. I believe everyone should. On the other hand, I'll never be able to ...more
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book, I was confused. Very, very confused. I needed time to think. I've been thinking about this book for a couple of weeks, and my confusion has now changed to anger. I'm incapable of understanding how people can live their lives, not knowing about the fact that we're slowly destroying our world. Not only are we destroying it for ourselves, but for all life on Earth.
In some way, I'm glad to have earned all this knowledge, but it also makes me sad that so many people walk aro
Abdullah Khalid
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, recs
This book is another bitter reminder of the direction of our future. Climate change is happening with more devastations than ever. Population is increasing and food sources are decreasing. Moreover the pure water scarcity is another global phenomenon. We may increase our energy resources to deal with many problems but we won't be able to control the climate change like this ,ever. The author has shown the alarming statistics with citations and proved that increase in population, climate change, ...more
Nov 23, 2013 rated it liked it
The premise of this book, horrible stuff is happening to the earth due to overpopulation, is sound. And the design of the book is pleasing - just one or two horrific facts per page to increase their impact. However, the scientific facts stated on every page are done so without citations and references. This blows my mind, and undermines the book's credibility. I really want to believe everything Emmott purports, but I don't want to have to search the web to fact check every single assertion. Tha ...more
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short and devastating. I don't entirely agree with some of the facts presented – embedded water is more complex than stated; ice sheet melt is a little incorrect as written; no allowance is made for recyclability; renewable energy holds far more promise than suggested; and frankly I cannot see how we'll possibly get to 10 billion with all of these enormous systemic limits we're crashing headlong into – yet ultimately these only affect the rate of looming cataclysm, not the underlying conclusions ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a moving read. Emmott is completely honest about the state of the world and his honesty is chilling and worrying. I've always cared about what we're doing to the world and I echo Emmott's thoughts "Why are we not doing more about the situation we're in - given the scale of the problem and the urgency needed- I simply cannot understand." There is no excuse for blindly destroying the world. Educate yourself and read this book and if you still want to kepp on the same I guess we deserve it. ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Very basic book on understanding how population growth could and probably will exacerbate climate change, food security and water availability. Within the paragraph exploring challenges we might face, I feel it misses out on soil as a keep component of agriculture. Still it’s a comprehensive beginner to the likely outcome over the next few decades.
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I read the Guardian article which was supposedly an "extract" of this book, seemed interesting so I paid a fiver for it. Turns out "extract" actually means 90% of the book. It's basically a short essay, half an hour's reading. ...more
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
every fricken person living on earth needs to read and process this book
Aug 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Humankind is growing and strip-mining and polluting the earth -stop the bus I want to get off.A staggeringly depressing book - 7000 litres of water to make a hamburger? can't get my head around that one.
If everything stated is 100% accurate - than really really worry for your grandchildren. I felt the book presentation was over stylised with many pages containing only a small paragraph - given the ecological statements presented, this irritated me.
Martin Toseland
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Scary - which it needs to be - but its audience will be those already scared.
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
this is a great primer about climate change for someone who wants to know what's going on scientifically~ but without being inundated with hard science. otoh, I have an academic background to this issue so 95% of it was already known to me and hence my rating. anyway, the earth is doomed.

P.S. I do have to laugh about the fact that the author rightfully advises us to consume less but this book is designed in a way that only uses 20% of every page leaving the rest wastefully empty.
Kim Stallwood
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A hybrid work of nonfiction and graphic novel that could do with more left-justification and less hyphenation but that's being picky. Ten Billion is a quick read. But don't do what I did which is read it in bed before going to sleep. You will have nightmares. The author, Stephen Emmott, is an eminent scientist writing about the prospect of the Earth sustaining a population of 10 billion people. His conclusion? We're all fucked. Chart after chart punctuates the book where the line goes skyward wi ...more
Re Heubel
This book is more of an outline / overview of the problem of global warming, global patterns of human consumption and human over-population. There is not much text in the book (more like a picture/comic book), what there is, is very simple - (seems like it could be read easily by junior high kids) - accompanied by several scary charts and photographs. Therefore, it is light reading in the sense of quantity of text. Perhaps the author intended this book to be an introduction to this huge problem ...more
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'll start by saying that I get some of the dislike for the book, its tone, and the author. It's hard to like a book when the last words say we're screwed -- only in stronger, less civil language. I also sympathize with those who suggest the author is hypocritical in complaining about waste and rampant consumerism but then goes on to publish a book in such an inefficient way.

Still, as a primer into the effects of climate change spurred by capitalism, the book is effective. Its very visual approa
Aoife Moriarty
My quick 'just-read-it-gut-reaction' review is as follows: I have read extracts of Ehrlich's Population Bomb (1968) and this book seems to be a modern synopsis of the population issue. Nothing new is being told. The layout makes for fast reading with immediate impact - yes - I checked if printed on recycled paper - I presume too much water would have been required perhaps? I read this in preparation for a class I will be teaching on fashion sustainability and it served to highlight that environm ...more
Last week Dh and I were watching the news and had a conversation that we both agree on... we don't care how "green" you are, unless you get rid of the humans it really doesn't matter.

Later that week I was talking to kid 2's teacher and he thinks that same thing.

Hence, this book he recommended. Now you're saying... then why only 3 stars when you agree with most of the information in it... kids and consumption... it's the format. It's written as someone's power point presentation and stuck into
Darran Mclaughlin
I read a couple of pieces in The Guardian about this book within the last month and it's publication has caused a lot of discussion and debate. I finally read it this afternoon in an hour or so. It's pretty bloody terrifying and eye opening. It confirms all of my worst fears about our collective ability to deal with the existential threat we are creating for ourselves as a species.

It's very short, clear and accessible. It would be a very good thing if as many people as possible read it. It part
Ricardo Cole
I have absolutely no idea what to think of this book.

Most of the science (by all accounts) isn't great but the topics themselves deserve a bigger platform. Which, with the way this book is gaining publicity recently, looks like it may well happen. It's that sort of An Inconvenient Truth thing.

Renewable being essentially summed up with "I don't think this will work" and not much else to back it is grating.

Then there's the fact it's incredibly short and at times feels like a prequel to Cormac McCa
Jeff Wyonch
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Extremely brief, as the typography pads the book out considerably, but every page is worth reading. A book on the consequences of the population explosion, this should be required reading. If you think food and gas is expensive now, you won't believe what's in store for us. ...more
Charlotte Jones
Nov 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was excited to read this book when I found it in the library as I had heard amazing things about it when it came out a few years ago. However, this was highly disappointing.

Climate change is a serious topic and I thought that arranging the information in such a brief way, in short snappy sentences with lots of space on the page, would make it almost more impactful, giving the reader room to absorb each page. Instead, this layout gave the feeling of a Powerpoint presentation. The images and gra
Rathin Deshpande
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Now that we are heading towards a population of 10 billion - probably in just a couple of decades - this book discusses the impact of growth of population on climate.

This is a must read book for everyone, if we want to live a sustainable life.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
this was interesting with loads of informational graphs and interesting topics and hypothesis. i heard the numbers are predicted differently by now but it's a very realistic approach to how climate change should be treated and how it's actually viewed and how it's actually going to end.
it's a great introduction to the topic in general and was quite a fun read because of its inclusive language and the different mediums that were used. it also raises awareness and has quite a bit of dark humor, in
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emmott's brief booklet "Ten Billion" seems like an updated Malthusian prediction of doom. Malthus' famous book from the end of the 18th Century predicted that population would outgrow the available food supply, and therefore without taking steps to control population growth, the world would face starvation.
Emmott's book has a similar ring to it, but goes beyond simple limits of food supplies, and adds in other dangers including lack of water, greenhouse gasses leading to climate change, etc. Ma
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cancel the piano lessons and teach your children to shoot a gun as theirs will be a brutal future, or something like that. The basic thesis is that there are too many people (far too many people) and they all want to buy stuff; lots and lots of stuff. So far so bad. The trouble is we don’t know when to stop and something in our psychological make-up is going to prevent us making the changes that will avert environmental catastrophe. Oh and technology probably won’t save us either.

One day we may
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“We urgently need to do - and I mean actually do - something radical to avert a global catastrophe. But I don't think we will.

I think we're fucked.”
“We need to consume less. A lot less. Less food, less energy, less stuff. Fewer cars, electric cars, cotton T-shirts, laptops, mobile phone upgrades. Far fewer.

Yet, every decade, global consumption continues to increase relentlessly.”
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