ISBN: 978-1-78474-500-4

Jon Naustdalslid

Independent Researcher

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This book, by the deputy director of the esteemed website Our World in Data, aims to do for environmental issues what Hans Rosling did for social challenges. Ritchie contends that the media's portrayal of a world teetering on the brink of disaster is misleading. Despite serious environmental threats, the evidence does not support apocalyptic predictions, and progress is being made. The book delves into six key areas: air pollution, climate change, deforestation, food production, biodiversity loss, and oceanic plastic pollution. In each domain, Ritchie presents solid empirical evidence showing a more favourable situation than that depicted by the media, and that overall trends are largely positive. The world is producing more food than ever, sufficient to feed twice the current population. The development of emission-free energy is rapidly advancing, though much work remains. Air pollution levels are decreasing significantly. These issues, like their solutions, are interconnected. Transitioning away from fossil fuels is crucial. Adopting emission-free energy sources will mitigate global warming, reduce air pollution, and potentially save millions of lives annually. As agricultural productivity increases through the use of fertilizers and improved crops, more people can be nourished while reducing the land needed for farming. This bodes well for forest regeneration and biodiversity. The linchpin for sustainable development is the developing world. This is where most emission increases take place, deforestation occurs, and plastic waste enters the oceans. Just as with global social issues, the key lies in fostering economic development and growth. The solution is not to regress to a more natural state, economic contraction and degrowth, but rather to harness modern technology and resources to build a more sustainable future.