One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future

Filled with bold proposals, incisive analysis, and informative scientific discussions, One with Nineveh is a wide-ranging and thought-provoking account of the major issues of our time, and what we can do about them.


Paul Ehrlich is a rare kind of celebrity: his books, many of them written with partner Anne Ehrlich, have influenced a generation of readers and attracted widespread acclaim, not to mention their share of controversy.
The Ehrlichs? latest collaboration promises to excite their fans, incense their critics, and help set the nation?s agenda in the upcoming election season and in subsequent years. One with Nineveh is a fresh synthesis of the Ehrlichs’ major themes to date, informed by recent events up to and including the Iraq war, and with a provocative extra dash of politics. With unflinching clarity and directness, it exposes the three elephants in our proverbial living room–overpopulation, overconsumption, and political and economic inequity–that together are increasingly determining today’s politics and shaping humankind’s future. The authors demonstrate the ways these often-neglected factors influence each other, and reveal how we can begin to create a better and more lasting world if we take them seriously into account.
The book takes its title from Rudyard Kipling’s “”Recessional”” (“”Lo, all our pomp of yesterday/Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!””), and alludes to the pride that went before the fall of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations. Their undoing, beyond the impact of warfare, was deforestation and unsustainable irrigation, practices whose destructive effects were ignored by the political and economic elites.
The Ehrlichs warn that the hubris of our own civilization could be leading us to an end similar to Nineveh’s–whose ruins lie near the Iraqi city of Mosul–if environmental trends such as loss of biodiversity and rapid climate change are not halted. But they also devote a large part of the book to recommending steps to allow humanity, and in particular the world’s sole remaining superpower, to alter course and work toward resolving the human predicament.

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