The Best Ten
Population Books

- Jared Diamond

Diamond examines why past societies, such as the Easter Islanders, the Anasazi, and the Viking colonies of Greenland, suffered dramatic collapses. The primary culprit was the destruction of their environment - many times by their own actions - and their failure to recognize the ultimate consequences until it was too late. The story of the Easter Islanders is exactly what is happening today - except on a world-wide scale. Don't say you weren't warned.

Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
- William R. Catton Jr.

First published in the early 1980's, this classic remains as relevant today as then - probably more so. Go read the reviews on the Amazon page (referenced above).

Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture
- Dale Pfeiffer

Pfeiffer examines the link between fossil fuels and the Green Revolution in agriculture that made possible the last few decades of excessive population growth. Basic message: when oil goes away, we won't be able to produce enough food. Simple, obvious…and frightening.

Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Global Update
- Meadows, Rander, and Meadows

This is the second update (by the same authors) of the classic "The Limits to Growth" first published in 1974 by the Club of Rome. Detailed analysis and lots of science support the proposition that a collapse of frightening proportions is inevitable unless we change our behavior dramatically and soon (unlikely...).

The World Without Us
- Alan Weisman

Weisman's great thought-experiment description of what the world would look like, and how it would change over time, if all humans suddenly went away. Not just personnel speculation, Weisman consults many experts and travels to remote places (including Chernobyl) to give authority to his projections. A fascinating read.

- Derrick Jensen

(From the Press Action website) "The recipient of this award was never in doubt. Derrick Jensen's Endgame, released in late spring, was the best work of nonfiction in 2006. Given the significance of its subject matter and the urgency of Jensen's message, Endgame is the most important book of the decade and could stand as the must-read book of our lifetimes. But be careful. The book is likely to send you into periods of despondency over the bleak future of the planet."

Jensen stands alone as the eloquent spokesperson of the real truth.

The Ismael Trilogy
- Daniel Quinn

Telepathic conversations with a gorilla in captivity. If you've educated yourself to the extent that you can almost see the staircase and want to take the next step - then read these iconic classics. Quoting Ishmael (the gorilla):

"There's nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world. But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact, in which they are the lords of the world, they will act as the lords of the world. And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now."

The Eden Proposition
- Kurt Dahl

An exploration of the unthinkable alternative to unstopable population growth. In this novel, set in the near future, one man of extrodinary means decides to take matters into his own hands. What transpires is shocking, thought provoking, and ultimately frightening in its realism and plausibility. A can't-put-it-down thriller that will stretch your thinking to the breaking point. A must read if you care about this issue.

Gardening in Hard Times - Steve Solomon

Seed to Seed: Seed saving techniques - Ashworth and Whealy

Preserving Food Without Canning or Freezing

Want some brutally honest advice?? Here it is: teach your children how to grow and preserve food. It is likely to be a far more important skill than anything they will learn in college. And even if it turns out that it is not strictly necessary - it's still a good thing to do.

(Return to home page)

Send any suggestions for additions to this "TopTen" list to

Return to Population Elephant Homepage
Featured Book:
An American Famine