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Thursday, January 27, 2011

World on the Edge, Earthscan editionAs this blog goes to post, Lester Brown is in the final hours of a visit to London to release the Earthscan edition of World on the Edge, meeting with reporters, and giving a Linacre public lecture at Oxford

The launching of World on the Edge in the United States (W.W. Norton) just two weeks ago has stirred quite a bit of interest. One of the main reasons is that Lester is focusing on the food production bubble and rising food prices. This is one of his areas of expertise, having long studied the food/population equation. And, as events earlier this year have shown, like the price of wheat hitting an all-time high in the United Kingdom, food riots in Algeria, and Mexico buying corn futures, this is likely to be our first global crisis. See his article in Foreign Policy entitled “The Great Food Crisis of 2011.”

As Lester points out when studying the archeological records of earlier civilizations we find that more often than not it was food shortages that led to their downfall. Food appears to be the weak link for our global civilization as well. The question is not whether the food bubble will burst but when. While we might not be able to predict the exact date, all indications are that it is not decades away but any time.
World on the EdgeHow much time we have is one of the questions Lester looks at in World on the Edge. And in looking at food, he notes that while prices may fluctuate, they will very likely increase because the food bubble is based on environmental trends that cannot be sustained, including overpumping aquifers, overplowing land, and overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. In World on the Edge, Lester outlines other areas of concern, such as the melting of glaciers, rising sea level, soil erosion, the conversion of farmland for roads and parking lots, climate change, and population growth. The solutions he outlines are clear and can be undertaken today with existing technologies.

To give you a sense of how the book is being received, take a look at some of the early kudos we’ve received.

And here are links to some early reviews of the book:
By Robert Walker, Executive Vice President of The Population Institute

By Ted Glick, Policy Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and co-founder of the Climate Crisis Coalition

By Bryan Walker of Celsias’s Clean Techies Blog.

And some news coverage:
January 17, 2011
World is ‘one poor harvest’ from chaos, new book warns,” Karen Zeitvogel for Agence France Presse

January 19, 2011
"Beyond the Eternal Food Fight," Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times: Dot Earth

January 17, 2011
"Walker’s World: The U.S., China, and food," Martin Walker, Editor Emeritus of United Press International

January 14, 2011
"A Global Effort to Keep Food Prices from Soaring Higher," interview by Steve Mufson, The Washington Post

January 13, 2011
"In Corrupt Global Food System, Farmland Is the New Gold," by Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service

January 12, 2011
"One poor harvest away from chaos," by Geoffrey Lean, The Telegraph

January 12, 2011
"The ‘food bubble’ is bursting, says Lester Brown, and biotech won’t save us" by Tom Philpott, Grist 

January 12, 2011
"Food for thought," Deborah Zabarenko, Reuter’s Environment Forum blog

Lester’s next travel will be to Boston where he will be speaking at the Cambridge Forum. To keep up with his speaking events, see our Events page.


Reah Janise Kauffman
Vice President



Posted by Reah Janise on 01/27 at 09:00 AM


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