An interview with Lester Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute
Widely published and a leading figure of the environmental movement in the US, Lester Brown is the author of the Plan B series and World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, published in 2011.
His distinguished career, spanning agricultural policy, international development and environmental analysis, has seen him found two major environmental research institutes – the WorldWatch Institute in 1974 and the Earth Policy Institute in 2001 – and author or co-author 50 books.
We spoke with Lester, who is currently the President of the Earth Policy Institute based in Washington D.C., about his views on the twin challenges of climate change and global population stabilisation. He points to some hopeful signs and positive trends in the US, including declining automobile sales and improving fuel efficiency.
He also highlights the US trend to close coal-fired power plants (with 109 scheduled to close in the near future), and the push from the Beyond Coal campaign being run by the Sierra Club in partnership with hundreds of local groups.
We discuss social tipping points in recent history and Lester’s view that change will occur faster than we anticipate:
We’re really on the edge of some fundamental changes that we can’t anticipate associated with the internet and information moving on the internet. It will override some of the traditional constraints of the systems but in ways that we cannot now easily imagine.
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