By Lester R. Brown
In this pressing time, World at the Edge calls out the pivotal environmental matters and the way to resolve them now.
We are in a race among political and ordinary tipping issues. will we shut coal-fired strength crops quick sufficient to avoid wasting the Greenland ice sheet and steer clear of catastrophic sea point upward thrust? do we increase water productiveness quick adequate to halt the depletion of aquifers and steer clear of water-driven nutrition shortages? do we do something about height water and top oil even as? those are a number of the concerns Lester R. Brown skillfully distills in World at the Edge. Bringing many years of study and research into play, he offers the responses had to reclaim our future.
l. at the part
I. A DETERIORATING starting place
2. Falling Water Tables and Shrinking Harvests
3. Eroding Soils and increasing Deserts
4. emerging Temperatures, Melting nutrients defense
II. the results
5. The rising Politics of foodstuff shortage
6. Environmental Refugees: The emerging Tide
7. Mounting Stresses, Failing States
III. THE reaction: PLAN B
8. construction an Energy-Efficient worldwide economic climate
9. Harnessing Wind, sunlight, and Geothermal strength
10. Restoring the Economy's common help structures
11. removing Poverty, Stabilizing inhabitants, and Rescuing
12. Failing States
13. Feeding 8 Billion
IV. observing THE CLOCK
14. Saving Civilization
About the writer
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Extra resources for World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse
After nearly three decades of armed conflict and the related deprivation and devastation, Afghanistan's forests are nearly gone. Seven southern provinces are losing cropland to encroaching sand dunes. And like many failing states, even if Afghanistan had appropriate environmental policies, it lacks the law enforcement authority to implement them. Neighboring Iran illustrates the pressures facing the Middle East. With 8 million cattle and 79 million sheep and goats—the source of wool for its fabled Persian carpet-making industry—Iran's rangelands are deteriorating from overstocking.
Today more than half of the world's people live in countries with food bubbles. The question for each of these countries is not whether its bubble will burst, but when—and how the government will cope with it. Will governments be able to import grain to offset production losses? For some countries, the bursting of the bubble may well be catastrophic. For the world as a whole, the near-simultaneous bursting of several national food bubbles as aquifers are depleted could create unmanageable food shortages.
A University of Arizona study of over 2,000 of these water transfers from 1987 to 2005 reported that at least 8 out of 10 involved individual farmers or irrigation districts selling water to cities and municipalities. Colorado has one of the world's most active water markets. Fast-growing cities and towns in a state with high immigration are buying irrigation water rights from farmers and ranchers. In the upper Arkansas River basin, which occupies the southeastern quarter of the state, Colorado Springs and Aurora (a suburb of Denver) have already bought water rights to one third of the basin's farmland.