Tag Archives: lester brown

China’s rising soybean consumption reshaping western agriculture

China’s rising soybean consumption reshaping western agriculture

Global demand for soybeans has soared in recent decades, with China leading the race. Nearly 60 percent of all soybeans entering international trade today go to China, making it far and away the world’s largest importer. The soybean was domesticated some 3,000 years ago by farmers in eastern China. But it wasn’t until well after […] … learn more→

We can reforest the Earth

We can reforest the Earth

Protecting the 10 billion acres of remaining forests on earth and replanting many of those already lost are both essential for restoring the earth’s health. Since 2000, the earth’s forest cover has shrunk by 13 million acres each year, with annual losses of 32 million acres far exceeding the regrowth of 19 million acres. Restoring […] … learn more→

World in serious trouble on food front

World in serious trouble on food front

In the early spring of 2012, U.S. farmers were on their way to planting some 96 million acres in corn, the most in 75 years. A warm early spring got the crop off to a great start. Analysts were predicting the largest corn harvest on record. The United States is the leading producer and exporter […] … learn more→

Throwaway economy headed for junk heap of history

Throwaway economy headed for junk heap of history

In their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, American architect William McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart conclude that waste and pollution are to be avoided entirely. “Pollution,” says McDonough, “is a symbol of design failure.” The challenge is to re-evaluate the materials we consume and the way we manufacture products […] … learn more→

Two Views of Our Future

Two Views of Our Future

No previous civilization has survived the ongoing destruction of its natural supports. Nor will ours. Yet economists look at the future through a different lens. Relying heavily on economic data to measure progress, they see the near 10-fold growth in the world economy since 1950 and the associated gains in living standards as the crowning […] … learn more→

Harnessing the sun's energy for water and space heating

Harnessing the sun’s energy for water and space heating

The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters takes off. Unlike solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that convert solar radiation into electricity, these “solar thermal collectors” use the sun’s energy to heat water, space, or both. … learn more→

U.S. Carbon emissions down 7 percent in four years: Even bigger drops are coming

U.S. Carbon emissions down 7 percent in four years: Even bigger drops are coming

Between 2007 and 2011, carbon emissions from coal use in the United States dropped 10 percent. During the same period, emissions from oil use dropped 11 percent. In contrast, carbon emissions from natural gas use increased by 6 percent. The net effect of these trends was that U.S. carbon emissions dropped 7 percent in four […] … learn more→

U.S. gasoline use declining: Keystone XL pipeline not needed

U.S. gasoline use declining: Keystone XL pipeline not needed

As the debate unfolds about whether to build a 1,711-mile pipeline to carry crude oil from the tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas, the focus is on the oil spills and carbon emissions that inevitably come with it. But we need to ask a more fundamental question. Do we really need that oil? […] … learn more→

Expanding deserts, falling water tables, and toxic pollutants driving people from their homes

Expanding deserts, falling water tables, and toxic pollutants driving people from their homes

People do not normally leave their homes, their families, and their communities unless they have no other option. Yet as environmental stresses mount, we can expect to see a growing number of environmental refugees. Rising seas and increasingly devastating storms grab headlines, but expanding deserts, falling water tables, and toxic waste and radiation are also […] … learn more→