Full Planet, Empty Plates

By Lester R. Brown- a book review

“Food is the new oil,” writes Brown.

With that he says food will become the pressure point for global insecurity. He makes the case by citing statistics documenting the rising of food prices, the shrinking stores of foods, the growing population, and people moving up the food chain, eating more and more meat products. He has chapters on eroding soils, depleting aquifers and rivers, plateauing grain yields and rising temperatures. Richer countries are buying land in poorer countries and displacing locals in order to begin industrialized agriculture.

The global system is on overload and more countries are struggling to feed their population. Failed governments, famine, war and migration are results. He says there are four pressing needs on the demand side. We must stabilize world population, eradicate poverty, reduce consumption of meat, and reverse biofuel policies that use resources wastefully.

On the supply side of the equation, we must quickly stabilize climate, raise water productivity and protect soils from erosion.

The book is an easy read, has more facts than one can remember, but is well worth the read for gardeners and those concerned about food systems.
As an added bonus, he has made a slide presentation, which is available for public use at the Earth Policy Institute.


Submitted by Don Farwell