In Countdown, Weisman explores the complexity of calculating how many humans this planet can hold without capsizing. He visits an extraordinary range of the world’s cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in their beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest that sometimes it’s in their own best interest to limit their growth. He asks if we can determine how robust the Earth’s ecosystem must be to assure our continued existence, and whether we can know which other species are essential to our survival. And, he inquires how we might design an economy for a shrinking and finally stable population, to have genuine prosperity without endless growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.