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State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet (State of the World) Paperback – January 10, 2011

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State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet (State of the World) + State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity + State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?
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Product Details

  • Series: State of the World
  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (January 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393338800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393338805
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“The most comprehensive, up-to-date, and accessible summaries . . . on the global environment.” (E. O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize winner)

About the Author

The Worldwatch Institute is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit research and publishing organization dedicated to fostering the evolution of an environmentally sustainable society.

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Customer Reviews

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on March 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
The path toward alleviating worldwide hunger and poverty will more likely be found by focusing on small-scale local initiatives than simply producing more food, a new study says. In its annual State of the World report, the Worldwatch Institute describes successful programs to combat hunger, poverty, and the effects of climate change in sub-Saharan Africa. In Gambia, the government is working with a newly formed women's organization that monitors the local oyster fishery to prevent overharvesting; in Kenya, women cultivate "vertical" gardens in sacks that provide a source of revenue as well as food security for their families; and in Uganda, school children are taught about nutrition, food preparation, and how to grow local crops. Brian Halweil, co-director of the project, said shifting global attention from production to meeting the needs of local populations and cutting waste will provide a greater return on international investment. "Roughly 40 percent of the food currently produced worldwide is wasted before it is consumed, creating large opportunities for farmers and households to save both money and resources by reducing this waste," he said.

-Reposted from Yale Environment 360
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bridget on March 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Twenty-seven years on from its first State of the World report, the Worldwatch Institute is still measuring global progress toward a sustainable society in an annual volume of policy-oriented interdisciplinary research. Appropriately, the 2011 edition focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, where small farmers are drawing on ancient cultural wisdom and new technologies to produce abundant food without devastating local soils or the global ecosystem.

Worldwatch's "Nourishing the Planet" team studied - and have spread the word about -- African farmers' successes in areas such as drip irrigation, rooftop gardening, agroforestry and soil protection. Innovation, writes Worldwatch president Christopher Flavin, is taking place in some of the world's poorest communities - and "may have a greater impact on people and the planet than most high-tech innovation does".

Rapid and productive change is possible, Flavin argues, by empowering small farmers - particularly women - with simple but transformative innovations. The progress they make can bring the world nearer to the UN millennium development goal of halving world hunger by 2015.

Hunger is not the only problem, of course. In many areas, the earth is approaching the limits of arable land and water, so rising agricultural productivity - "more crop per drop" -- is increasingly important. Agriculture today, being heavily dependent on fossil fuels, both contributes to global warming and also is at severe risk from it. Without cheap oil to replace degraded renewable resources, Flavin notes, "innovations such as using green cover crops as natural fertiliser or locally produced biofuels as a substitute for diesel fuel are so exciting".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Siegel on February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Time to come out shortly after the President's State of the Union address, the State of the World publications have established themselves as a thoughtful and meaningful 'must-read' each year. Writ large, these studies bring together high-quality pieces that look at a problem or issue from a number of angles and it is hard to believe that even 'experts' in a field can pick up one of these volumes and fail to learn from them. Two tremendous values found in essentially every one: a systems-of-systems perspective providing a window on linkages and interconnections; and, focusing not only on problems/challenges but also providing meaningful solution options.

This year's State of the World certainly lives up to the standards set by previous State of the World publications. This looks intensely at the challenges -- and opportunities -- of agriculture in some of the poorest areas of the world.

What sets this volume apart is the structure and execution of the "Nourishing the Planet" project, which has sent researchers to many nations and led to interactions with researchers and (innovative) projects that offer a range of solutions from funding basic agricultural equipment for small landowners to improve productivity to introduction of vertical garden options to improve urban garden productivity to solar systems for efficient irrigation to ...

As noted, reading these volumes cannot fail to offer learning opportunities. For example, I had not realized that humanity 'wastes' over half our produced calories. And, that this wastage is so radically different between the 'developed' and 'developing' worlds. In the first (the 'rich' OECD, in essence), the agricultural system has become highly efficient at harvesting and delivering into processing with relatively low losses.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Deb Nam-Krane VINE VOICE on May 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
This year's State of the World explores the problem of global hunger. For the most part, the information concentrates on Africa. Fair enough- that's where the problem of hunger is the most concentrated.

People who have been watching this topic in the news should not be shocked by anything they read here. Soil fertility, urban agriculture, water, the (continuing) issues faced by female farmers, local biodiversity and even permaculture are explored here. The two unifying themes were the effects of the changing climate- Global Warming and Extreme Weather for those who don't want to sugarcoat it- and distribution. It is astounding that while many Africans suffer from hunger- and while some parties would have us wring our hands about how to drag more productivity out of the soil- the amount of food that is "wasted" by poor post-harvest practices could address some of those needs. Low tech solutions like improved storage containers could make a big difference in the fight against hunger, but those problems tend not to attract as much attention as genetically modified organisms or chemical fertilizers.

In the excellent "A Road Map for Nourishing the Planet", the authors call out the investors of the developed world, including the vaunted Gates Foundation, for essentially throwing money at the problem and looking for technological breakthroughs and furthering the belief that the problem is one of supply and demand and not administration and bureaucracy. It is noted several times in the book that to the extent small farmers have been able to come up with successful innovations and benefit from creative programs, it has in most cases been in spite of their home government, not because of it.
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