Food Shortages and the Fate of Our Civilization

cover_2009-05The May 2009 edition of Scientific American has published a notable article by Lester R. Brown entitled “Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization.” The founder of both the Worldwatch Institute (1974) and the Earth Policy Institute (2001), Brown has authored or co-authored 50 books; his most recent is Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.

His words represent an eloquent and informed call of the land – a call to take action now.

“For many years I have studied global agricultural, population, environmental and economic trends and their interactions,” Brown writes. “The combined effects of those trends and the political tensions they generate point to the breakdown of governments and societies. Yet I, too, have resisted the idea that food shortages could bring down not only individual governments but also our global civilization.

Lester Brown

Lester Brown

“I can no longer ignore that risk. Our continuing failure to deal with the environmental declines that are undermining the world food economy—most important, falling water tables, eroding soils and rising temperatures—forces me to conclude that such a collapse is possible.

“Even a cursory look at the vital signs of our current world order lends unwelcome support to my conclusions…No country is immune to the effects of tightening food supplies, not even the U.S.A.”

Brown’s full Scientific American article is available online, and is well worth reading.

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