Earth Policy Institute: Podcast (book bytes)
Book Byte: Restoring Food Security for All Takes Action on Many Fronts

Today there are three sources of growing demand for food: population growth; rising affluence and the associated jump in meat, milk, and egg consumption; and the use of grain to produce fuel for cars. Population growth is as old as agriculture itself. But the world is now adding close to 80 million people per year. Even worse, the overwhelming majority of these people are being added in countries where cropland is scarce, soils are eroding, and irrigation wells are going dry. For full report, visit the EPI website.

We are entering a new era, one of rapid and often unpredictable climate change. In fact, the new climate norm is change. The 25 warmest years on record have come since 1980. And the 10 warmest years since global recordkeeping began in 1880 have come since 1998. The effects of rising temperature are pervasive. Higher temperatures diminish crop yields, melt the mountain glaciers that feed rivers, generate more-destructive storms, increase the severity of flooding, intensify drought, cause more-frequent and destructive wildfires, and alter ecosystems everywhere. We are altering the earth’s climate, setting in motion trends we do not always understand with consequences we cannot anticipate. For full report visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Book_Byte_Future_at_Risk_on_a_Hotter_Planet.mp3
Category:Book Bytes -- posted at: 12:00am EST

The literature on soil erosion contains countless references to the “loss of protective vegetation.” Over the last half-century, clearcutting, overgrazing, and overplowing have removed so much of that protective cover that the world is quickly losing soil accumulated over long stretches of geological time (see "Civilization’s Foundation Eroding”). Preserving the biological productivity of highly erodible cropland depends on planting it in grass or trees before it becomes wasteland. For full report visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Book_Byte_Conserving_and_Rebuilding_Soils.mp3
Category:Book Bytes -- posted at: 9:00am EST

PB4 Book Byte: Plan B, A Plan to Save Civilization

There is much that we do not know about the future. But one thing we do know is that business as usual, including our continuing failure to reverse the environmental trends undermining the world food economy, will not last for much longer. Massive change is inevitable. “The death of our civilization is no longer a theory or an academic possibility; it is the road we’re on,” says Peter Goldmark, current director of the climate program at the Environmental Defense Fund. Can we find another road before time runs out? I think so. I call this road Plan B. For full report visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Book_Byte_Plan_B_A_Plan_to_Save_Civilization.mp3
Category:Book Bytes -- posted at: 9:30am EST