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World is ‘one poor harvest’ from chaos, new book warns

January 17, 2011 1 comment

Like many environmentalists, Lester Brown is worried. In his new book “World on the Edge,” released this week, Brown says mankind has pushed civilization to the brink of collapse by bleeding aquifers dry and overplowing land to feed an ever-growing population, while overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide.

If we continue to sap Earth’s natural resources, “civilizational collapse is no longer a matter of whether but when,” Brown, the founder of Worldwatch and the Earth Policy Institute, which both seek to create a sustainable society, told AFP.

What distinguishes “World on the Edge” from his dozens of other books is “the sense of urgency,” Brown told AFP. “Things could start unraveling at any time now and it’s likely to start on the food front.

“We’ve got to get our act together quickly. We don’t have generations or even decades — we’re one poor harvest away from chaos,” he said.

“We have been talking for decades about saving the planet, but the question now is, can we save civilization?”

In “World on the Edge”, Brown points to warning signs and lays out arguments for why he believes the cause of the chaos will be the unsustainable way that mankind is going about producing more and more food. Read more…