Sunday, July 15, 2012

Perspectives on Limits to Growth - Lester Brown

We are facing issues of near-overwhelming complexity and unprecedented urgency. Can we think systematically and fashion policies accordingly? Can we move fast enough to avoid environmental decline and economic collapse? Can we change direction before we go over the edge? I will look at the economic future through and environmental lens to fashion a plan that will sustain civilization. The plan has four components: a massive cut in global carbon emissions of 80 percent by 2020; the stabilization of world population at no more than 8 billion by 2040; the eradication of poverty; and the restoration of forests, soils, aquifers, and fisheries. Lester Brown started his career as a farmer, growing tomatoes in southern New Jersey with his younger brother during high school and college. Shortly after earning a degree in agricultural science from Rutgers University in 1955, he spent six months living in rural India where he became intimately familiar with the food/population issue. Brown went on to earn masters degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland and in public administration from Harvard University. In 1959 Brown joined the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service as an international analyst, and in 1964 he became an adviser to Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman on foreign agricultural policy. In 1966, he was appointed Administrator of the department's International Agricultural Development Service. In early 1969, he left government to help establish