Through this book, Mark Hertsgaard takes us on a journey to find the answer to the question, “Is the future of the human species at risk?” He is worried about the health of our environment. For a duration of seven years, Hertsgaard  travels around the world visiting nineteen countries. He explored the environmental state of those countries through the eyes of the people living in it. Hertsgaard chose these specific countries to travel too as the standard of life was different in each one, and this way we were able to see the different attitudes people had towards their country’s environmental issues. He was travelling to countries such as the U.S, but also Africa. The difference between each country makes the audience realise the many factors, such as the literacy rate, population, and the people’s way of life, that affect the environment. He spends a lot of time in Shanghai with different guides visiting factories and interviewing people as the environmental condition of Shanghai is in major decline. Through this book Mark Hertsgaard reports whether or not we should have hope for the earth’s survival.

This book concluded of Mark Hertsgaard visiting various regions around the world, due to the health of the world declining somberly. Mark described his experiences through his many companions, and although the book is slightly scattered in terms of experiences, he fills the holes through the experiences of his companions, one of which is named Zhenbing Zhou, who was a compassionate and humbling character in the book, he voiced his childhood experiences stricken in poverty of rural areas of China. He claimed how coal was a huge factor, and burning it caused ozone depletion, however, people who couldn’t afford much didn’t have much of a choice; it was either killing the environment or killing their children (due to the immensely cold environment). The positivity and upbeat attitude surprised Mark during many of his experiences in China with Zhenbing Zhou.