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In conversation with Ursula K. Heise, professor of English and faculty, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Weisman offers a long awaited follow-up to The World Without Us, his brilliant thought experiment that considered how the Earth could heal if relieved of humanity’s constant pressures. Now, after traveling to more than 20 countries to ask four questions that experts agreed were probably the most important on Earth—he explores the complexity of calculating how many humans this planet can hold without capsizing.
Alan Weisman is the author of several books, including The World Without Us- an international bestseller translated into 34 languages, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of the Wenjin Book Prize of the National Library of China. His work has been selected for many anthologies, including Best American Science Writing. An award-winning journalist, his reports have appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Discover, Vanity Fair, Wilson Quarterly, Mother Jones, and Orion, and on NPR. A former contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, he is a senior radio producer for Homelands Productions.
Ursula K. Heise is Professor in the Department of English and at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. She served as President of ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment) in 2011. Her research and teaching focuses on contemporary literature, environmental culture in the Americas, Western Europe and Japan, literature and science, globalization theory, and media theory. Her books include Chronoschisms: Time, Narrative, and Postmodernism, Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global, and Nach der Natur: Das Artensterben und die moderne Kultur (After Nature: Species Extinction and Modern Culture.) She is currently finishing a book called Where the Wild Things Used to Be: Narrative, Database, and Endangered Species.