EPIBuilding a Sustainable Future
World on the Edge: Quick Facts
January 25, 2011

We are facing issues of near-overwhelming complexity and unprecedented urgency. Can we think systemically and fashion policies accordingly? Can we change direction before we go over the edge? Here are a few of the many facts from the book to consider:

  • In Sana’a, the capital of Yemen—home to 2 million people—water tables are falling fast. Tap water is available only once every 4 days; in Taiz, a smaller city to the south, it is once every 20 days.
  • The indirect costs of gasoline, including climate change, treatment of respiratory illnesses, and military protection, add up to $12 per gallon. Adding this to the U.S. average of $3 per gallon brings the true market price closer to $15 per gallon.
  • Between 2007 and 2010, U.S. coal use dropped 8 percent. During the same period, 300 new wind farms came online, adding 21,000 megawatts of U.S. wind-generating capacity.

“We can get rid of hunger, illiteracy, disease, and poverty, and we can restore the earth’s soils, forests, and fisheries. We can build a global community where the basic needs of all people are satisfied—a world that will allow us to think of ourselves as civilized.” –Lester R. Brown

World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse is available online at www.earth-policy.org.