Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The World in 2050

The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilizations's Northern Future, Lawrence C Smith, Dutton, 2010

This book explores the things that humanity has waiting for it in the next few decades.

The number of mega-cities (those with a population of over 10 million) will only rise, as the world's population will pass 9 billion. Some of those cities will be clean and efficient, like Singapore. It is much more likely that they will be over-crowded, polluted and crime-filled, like Lagos, Nigeria. The question is not will sea levels or the Earth's overall temperature rise, but, by how much will they rise.

As the world gets older and grayer, and as America's baby boomers start to retire, younger workers will be needed to keep the economy moving. Where will these workers come from? Water problems, and water shortages, in normally dry places like sub-Saharan Africa and the American Southwest, will only get worse.

The author spends much of the book looking at the New North, the countries that border the Arctic Circle, including America, Canada, Russia and Scandinavia. There is the potential for a lot of oil or natural gas under the ice. In Alaska and Canada, local indigenous groups have gained joint, or total, control, over the natural resources that lie under their feet. The extending of the temperate climate zone to the north makes agriculture more and more possible on formerly barren land (like growing potatoes in Greenland). The thawing of the permafrost makes building more difficult in remote northern towns. Digging foundations, or putting in pylons on which to build a building is impossible when rock-solid ice is only a foot or two below ground level. It also shortens the "trucking season," where those remote northern towns can be re-supplied by trucks, which is a lot cheaper than doing it by boat or helicopter (think of the TV show "Ice Road Truckers").

This is a fascinating book. For some people, the information here may not exactly be new, but the author does an excellent job. It is compelling, and very much worth reading.

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