This work is the seventh annual assessment of the Earth's health from the Worldwatch Institute. The instutute, US based but with a world focus, has a firmly established reputation for providing the best assessment of the world's progress towards a sustainable society. Evidence of progress (or lack of it) is gathered from a very wide range of sources all of which are meticulously listed. It is presented soberly and with a balanced judgement of what it means. The 1990 report stresses the dangers of catastrophe that we are all becoming familiar with, but it says they can be avoided provided governments follow the practical policies for survival outlined in the book. "State of the World" is in fact recognized as an authoritative guide to policy-making by the UN, most national governments (it is translated into all major languages) and environmental campaigning organizations, like Friends of the Earth, throughout the world. It is being used increasingly in education as environmental issues figure more and more prominently in formal courses, and it is an invaluable sourcebook for concerned individuals everywhere. The Worldwatch Institute is a non-profit collective headed by Lester Brown and has just been awarded the World Fund for Wildlife's annual award for the best contribution to world conservation. The goal of the institute is to help raise the level of public understanding of global environment threats to the point where it will support policies needed to reverse these trends.