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The Best of Times, The Worst of Times
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Futures from the Frontiers of Climate Science



352 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: EPUB, Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $19.95 (US $19.95) (CA $26.95)

Publication Date: November 2021

ISBN 9781911648093

Rights: US & CA

The Indigo Press (Nov 2021)


eBook Editions Available

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A unique, highly readable approach to the environmental crisis, with alternating chapters outlining the effects on society if left unchecked, and the radical actions we can take to prevent it

Now includes updated sections on COVID-19 and COP26

The environmental emergency is the greatest threat we face. Preventing it will require an unprecedented political and social response. And yet, there is still hope.

Academic, physicist, environmental expert and award-winning science communicator Paul Behrens presents a radical analysis of a civilization on the brink of catastrophe. Setting out the pressing existential threats we face, he writes, in alternating chapters, of what the future could look like at its most pessimistic and hopeful.

In lucid prose, Behrens argues that structural problems need structural solutions, and examines critical areas in which political will is required, including women’s education, food and energy security, biodiversity and economics.

The book was printed with two different jackets, to illustrate the unique duality of the author’s approach.


"A powerful, up-to-date, and sometimes terrifying primer on the stupendous global problems we face today." --David Christian, author, Origin Story: A Big History of Everything

"An elegant, powerful and thought-provoking book." --James Shapiro, author, Shakespeare in a Divided America

"Rich in complexity, deeply researched and, importantly, seeded with hope." --Gaia Vince, author, Transcendence: How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time

"Behrens provides a wealth of critically important facts, accessibly and insightfully related by presentations alternately slanted to pessimistic and optimistic attitudes." --Herman Daly, Emeritus Professor at the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland and author of Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development

"An extraordinary distillation of science, policy, and common sense without being tedious or dismal." --David Orr, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College Emeritus and author of Dangerous Years: Climate Change, the Long Emergency, and the Way Forward

Author Biography

Paul Behrens is a Netherlands-based academic holding the post of Assistant Professor in Energy and Environmental Change at University Leiden. He is passionate about science outreach and his research has appeared in a number of prestigious outlets, such as the New York Times, the Independent and Scientific American. Trained as a physicist at the University of Auckland where he completed his PhD, Paul Behrens’ work focuses on the impact of human consumption and the changes society must make in order to survive within environmental constraints. 

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