Lester Brown explains how falling water tables, eroding soils, rising temperatures, and control of arable land and water resources is spurring the global struggle for food security. In Full Planets, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity Brown outlines the political implications of land acquisitions by grain-importing countries in Africa and elsewhere as well as the world’s shrinking buffers against poor harvests.
More than half of counties in the United States have been declared disaster zones due to drought. But the United States isn’t the only country experiencing crop failures or higher food costs as a result. On today’s second Backstory, Earth Policy Institute President Lester Brown talks about water shortages in Pakistan, East Africa, and elsewhere—and how they’re affecting food supplies.
It's no secret that with a growing population and a shrinking place to put us all, many are anticipating a global food crisis in the near future — one that brings the scarcity of sustenance already present in poverty-stricken nations to all nations. And a hot commodity is also a high-priced one. Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, has a new story detailing what may prove the coming food crisis in the 21st century.
Lester Brown, President of The Earth Policy Institute, discusses the emerging geopolitics of food scarcity. His latest article in Foreign Policy looks at the role food scarcity has in driving political upheaval in the Middle East and threatening stability in other developing regions. Falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures threaten food supplies, and Brown will discuss the political implications.
Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, talks about how the world's economic future is tied to the environment.
Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, describes what’s driving the rise in food prices around the world – from the changing environment to population growth. Plus, find out how commodities prices are connected to the rising dissatisfaction in many developing countries.
“In looking at Egypt, for example, the protesters are focusing on getting Mubarak out of office, but the food issue hangs over Egypt because they import such a large amount of their grain. In fact, I think Egypt is currently the world’s leading wheat importer, having surpassed Japan and Brazil which are the other big 3 wheat importers. But what happened with Egypt was that a year or so ago, they signed…a 5-year contract with Russia to supply the Egyptians with 3 million tons of wheat a year, and the ink was hardly dry on that contract before the Russians were announcing that they were embargoing all grain exports. And so suddenly Egypt had to scramble to replace what they were expecting to get from the Russians.”
-Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse. You can hear the entire interview here.