NPG is pleased to recommend Breaking New Ground: A Personal History, the autobiography of global environmental activist Lester Brown. Praised by the Washington Post as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers,” he is the winner of multiple honorary awards and has published several works on the global environmental movement. Brown’s efforts – including his founding of both the Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute – have long been praised by NPG. In 1997, Brown was a keynote speaker at a joint NPG and FAIR press conference titled Reinventing Malthus for the 21st Century, which centered on John Rohe’s book A Bicentennial Malthusian Essay. A McArthur Fellow award winner and recipient of the United Nations Environmental Prize, Brown’s history of activism is sure to be a fascinating and educational tale.
We recognize that our impact on the environment, in terms of pollution and resource depletion, is the product of our numbers times our per capita consumption of energy and materials. Thus, there are only three ways by which that impact can be reduced:
• By reducing the size of our population by a negative rate of population growth.
• By reducing overconsumption by simplifying lifestyles.
• By reducing resource depletion and pollution per unit of consumption through more efficient use of energy and materials.
Population size is by far the most critical of those three variables. Nevertheless, our present scale of economic activity is so large relative to the biosphere that all three measures are needed in order to reduce it to a sustainable level.
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