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Killing the Koala and Poisoning the Prairie

Australia, America, and the Environment

Though separated by thousands of miles, the United States and Australia have much in common. Geographically both countries are expansive—the United States is the fourth largest in land mass and Australia the sixth—and both possess a vast amount of natural biodiversity. At the same time, both nations are on a crash course toward environmental destruction. Highly developed super consumers with enormous energy footprints and high rates of greenhouse-gas emissions, they are two of the biggest drivers of climate change per capita. As renowned ecologists Corey J. A. Bradshaw and Paul R. Ehrlich make clear in Killing the Koala and Poisoning the Prairie, both of these countries must confront the urgent question of how to stem this devastation and turn back from the brink.
In this book, Bradshaw and Ehrlich provide a spirited exploration of the ways in which the United States and Australia can learn from their shared problems and combine their most successful solutions in order to find and develop new resources, lower energy consumption and waste, and grapple with the dynamic effects of climate change. Peppering the book with humor, irreverence, and extensive scientific knowledge, the authors examine how residents of both countries have irrevocably altered their natural environments, detailing the most pressing ecological issues of our time, including the continuing resource depletion caused by overpopulation. They then turn their discussion to the politics behind the failures of environmental policies in both nations and offer a blueprint for what must be dramatically changed to prevent worsening the environmental crisis.
Although focused on two nations, Killing the Koala and Poisoning the Prairie clearly has global implications—the problems facing the United States and Australia are not theirs alone, and the solutions to come will benefit by being crafted in coalition. This book provides a vital opportunity to learn from both countries’ leading environmental thinkers and to heed their call for a way forward together.

240 pages | 20 halftones | 6 x 9


“In this fascinating book, Bradshaw and Ehrlich compare the environmental and social factors that have led to the degradation of the environment on the opposite sides of the earth—both countries with an origin in the British Isles, but the United States with a much larger biocapacity and about fourteen times as many people.  In lively and clear prose, the authors offer many cogent observations on the current plights of their respective countries and offer suggestions about how each could learn from the experiences of the other.  Readers of this book will find both pleasure and enlightenment in following the intellectual and emotional journeys of its talented authors and will find much practical wisdom in their recommendations and conclusions.”

Peter H. Raven, president emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden

“In Killing the Koala and Poisoning the Prairie, two renowned scientists from opposite ends of the Earth, deadly serious even when being drolly funny, pull no punches about the fact that the most critical decisions on our planet are currently being made by people least qualified to do so: politicians who have scant understanding of the intricate interdependencies of global ecology (including human ecology) and who increasingly and blatantly do the bidding of an elite few. Scientists rarely are so frank about that in public, or in such detail, and it’s high time that some took off the gloves because their deniers have no qualms about going to great, expensive lengths to try to discredit them. Bradshaw and Ehrlich’s clarity about that is refreshing, irresistibly readable, and long overdue.”

Alan Weisman, author of Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?

“It’s a grim book though leavened by the wit and entertaining style of the authors. The final chapter offers much practical wisdom in its conclusions. Highly recommended.”

Sustainable Population Australia

"These two prominent and well-established scientists, hailing from opposite ends of the globe, carefully dissect the multitude of political, social, and ecological factors that shaped the creation of similar and oft-times reckless environmental policies of the two nations. . . . A wonderful introduction to the deep history of ecological degradation and the current weak environmental policies of both Australia and the United States."

Arun Dayanandan | Biological Conservation

Table of Contents

Preface  Prologue
1 Ausmerica
2 Enter the naked Ape
3 Remorse
4 Biowealth
5 Liquidated Assets
6 Sick Planet, Sick People
7 The Bomb is Still Ticking
8 Ignorance and Greed
9 Theocracy
10 Circling the Drain
11 Save this House
Acknowledgments  Notes

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