1st Edition

World on the Edge
How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse

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ISBN 9781849712743
Published January 26, 2011 by Routledge
144 Pages

USD $28.95

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Book Description

In this urgent time, World on the Edge calls out the pivotal environmental issues and how to solve them now.

We are in a race between political and natural tipping points. Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid catastrophic sea level rise? Can we raise water productivity fast enough to halt the depletion of aquifers and avoid water-driven food shortages? Can we cope with peak water and peak oil at the same time? These are some of the issues Lester R. Brown skilfully distils in World on the Edge. Bringing decades of research and analysis into play, he provides the responses needed to reclaim our future.

Table of Contents

1. Has the Decline of Civilization Begun?   Part 1: The Challenge  2. Falling Water Tables and Shrinking Harvests  3. Melting Ice and Food Security  4. Eroding Soils and Expanding Deserts  5. The Emerging Politics of Food Scarcity  6. Environmental Refugees: Millions on the Move  7. Mounting Stresses, Failing States  Part 2: The Response – Plan B  8. Building an Energy Efficient Global Economy 9. Harnessing Wind, Solar, and Geothermal Energy  10. Eradicating Poverty, Stabilizing Population, and Rescuing Failing States  11. Restoring the Economy's Natural Support Systems  12. Feeding Eight Billion Part 3: Watching the Clock  13. Can We Rescue Civilization?

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Lester R. Brown is president of the Earth Policy Institute, a research organization in Washington, DC. He has been honoured with numerous prizes, including a MacArthur Fellowship, United Nations Environment Prize, and Japan's Blue Planet Prize.


'Lester Brown is one of the pioneers and heroes of global environmentalism. If the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize had been extended to a third recipient, the logical candidate would have been Lester Brown.' - E. O. Wilson

'This is the ultimate survival guide for our species. Lester Brown plots a path around and beyond the looming environmental abyss with courage, compassion and immense wisdom.' - Jonathan Watts, Asia Environment Correspondent for The Guardian and author of When A Billion Chinese Jump

'World on the Edge is brilliant. Author Lester Brown is one of humanity's greatest voices for the environment. In this volume, he presents the reader with a clear prescription for restoring sanity to our relationship with the biosphere. Highest recommendation.' - Geoffrey Holland, Author, The Hydrogen Age

'No one is better informed than Lester Brown of the multi-faceted crisis facing our planet. And no one has spelt out so clearly how our civilisation could be saved from falling 'over the edge' while there is - hopefully - still just time.'- John Rowley, founder/editor www.peopleandplanet.net

'Lester Brown has produced another 'planetary survey' book that tells us how to get off the wrecking train we are on by courtesy of a dozen environmental assaults such as climate change. The better news (and there's plenty) is that turning problems into opportunities generally puts money into our pockets.' -Norman Myers, 21st Century School, University of Oxford

'World on Edge details the vice closing around us: a quadruple squeeze of global warming and shortages in food, water and energy. Then it explains the path out - and how little time we have left to take that path. Got anything more important to read than that?' -Peter Goldmark, former head of the Port authority of New York and New Jersey, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, and CEO of the International Herald Tribune

'Brown's comprehensive review of human civilization's impending crises never becomes overwhelming, as it is accompanied by clear-eyed, pragmatic solutions that constitute a road map to a cleaner, more just world.'-David Roberts, senior staff writer, grist.org

'This is a thought provoking book which presents macro-issues and macro-solutions. It is without a doubt a vitally important read which graphically present just what humankind has done to the habitats it has colonised and exploited.' - Eagle Bulletin