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Lester Brown

President of the Earth Policy Institute

Lester R. Brown has been described by the Washington Post as "one of the world’s most influential thinkers." The Telegraph of Calcutta called him "the guru of the global environmental movement."

In May 2001, he founded Earth Policy Institute, where he now serves as president. The purpose of the Earth Policy Institute is to provide a vision of an environmentally sustainable economy, a roadmap of how to get from here to there — as well as an ongoing assessment of progress.

Brown has an M.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland — and an M.P.A. from Harvard University. In 1964, he became an adviser to Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman on foreign agricultural policy.

At the beginning of 1969, he left government to help establish the Overseas Development Council.

In 1974, Lester Brown founded the Worldwatch Institute. And in 1984, Brown launched the "State of the World" reports. They have been translated into some 30 languages — and are considered the bible of the global environmental movement.

In 1988, Brown expanded Worldwatch’s publications by launching World Watch, a bimonthly magazine featuring articles on the Institute’s research.

Awarded some 22 honorary degrees, he is also a former MacArthur Fellow and the recipient of many prizes and awards, including the 1987 United Nations’ Environment Prize — and the 1989 World Wide Fund for Nature Gold Medal.

Articles by Lester Brown

The Accelerating Transition Away from Fossil Fuels

This century is witnessing a shift to renewable solar and wind energy.

May 3, 2015

U.S.-India: Dealing With Monsoon Failure

When the U.S. government worked constructively to help a nation in danger.

February 6, 2014

Global Food Security: 10 Challenges

World Food Day reminds us of the fragility of food security in the 21st century.

October 15, 2013

The New Geopolitics of Food

How can we help those on the lower rungs of the global economic ladder cope with rising food prices?

October 9, 2012

Smarter Grids, Appliances and Consumers

How would a more efficient electrical system benefit consumers and the environment?

August 18, 2010

Population Growth and Resource Availability

How does population affect peace and stability?

June 19, 2009

Beyond the Big Three and Wall Street: The Other Massive Market Failure

In light of all the recent failures from Detroit, the Big Three and Wall Street, can we really trust the invisible hand to allocate financial or natural resources rationally?

December 23, 2008

Redesigning Urban Transport

What is the future of transportation in the world's largest cities?

July 11, 2008

Pottytraining the World

Why does the world need to say farewell to the "flush and forget" principle?

October 1, 2007

Designing Cities for People

In an age where parks are sacrificed for parking lots, how can city planning benefit people — not cars?

June 28, 2007

Santa Claus is Chinese

Is the United States' Christmas "Made in China"?

December 22, 2006

The Global Clash Over Corn

Could exploding U.S. demand for corn-based automotive fuel threaten world food security and political stability?

November 23, 2006

Climate Refugees

Will climate change and natural disasters spur mass migration away from high-risk, high-cost regions?

September 8, 2006

Beyond the Oil Peak

Could increasing oil prices reshape living patterns around the world?

May 24, 2006

The Two Sides of Green: Money and the Environment

Can taxes on environmentally harmful activities actually promote economic growth prospects?

May 10, 2006

1942 and the Global Battle for the Environment

Can the United States restructure its economy to better address severe environmental concerns?

May 3, 2006

How Food and Fuel Compete for Land

Are increasing oil prices affecting agriculture's importance in the world market?

February 1, 2006

World Population — Stopping at Seven Billion?

How can countries around the world achieve a more sustainable population level?

March 28, 2005

Soybeans — The New King of the Crop?

Why has soybean production expanded so rapidly in recent years?

December 21, 2004

Is World Food Security Deteriorating?

Is a world-wide food crunch likely in 2005?

July 15, 2004

Does Saudi Arabia Have the United States Over a Barrel?

What does the United States need to do to lessen its dependence on Saudi oil?

April 29, 2004

China’s Shrinking Grain Harvest

What is the impact of China's grain shortage on the global economy?

March 12, 2004

The United States and the Global War on Cigarettes

Could this be the area where the entire world willingly follows U.S. leadership?

February 24, 2004

Will the United States Ever Be a Real Environmental Force?

How can the United States be motivated to restructure its whole economy?

September 7, 2003

Tuvalu’s Disappearance Act

How did a small island nation prosper with globalization, but suffer side effects?

May 1, 2003

Restructuring the Global Energy Economy

Are renewable energy sources gaining ground against fossil fuels?

March 6, 2003

The Global Water Deficit

How can governments around the world avoid water shortages of global proportions?

August 28, 2002

The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind

How has the global energy economy changed — and what does it mean for the future?

May 11, 2002

Thailand and Italy: Curious Partners?

How much do both countries' Prime Ministers have in common?

March 28, 2002

The Second Coming of Copernicus

Is the environment is part of the economy — or the economy is part of the environment?

December 9, 2001

China’s Dust Bowl Spreads Its Wings

Does China's agricultural policy jeopardize the country's future?

June 11, 2001

The Soybean Connection

Did the United States acquire the soybean from China by illicit means?

November 14, 2000