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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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-Reposted from Yale Environment 360
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".Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. Suggest you read it along with Plan B 4.0 by Lester Brown. The two books complement each other quite well.Published on December 14, 2012 by Jesse Garin
The book had a lot of great information about next step farming and can be summed up by the previous reviewers. Read morePublished on September 7, 2012 by P. Becker
Description said that this book was used, looked brand new and arrived on time for my class! Thank you so much!Published on September 16, 2011 by Darylin
The Worldwatch Institute has taken as its theme for this year's volume the topic of worldwide hunger, with a host of contributors offering simple solutions to the problems of... Read morePublished on April 15, 2011 by Chich Hill
Bringing together a wide range of voices from the field, the laboratory, and research and policy making community, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet is a... Read morePublished on March 14, 2011 by Molly
The Worldwatch Institute, a group that conducts research on climate, energy, food, agriculture, and the green economy, has jsut released its 2011 State of the World Report,... Read morePublished on March 11, 2011 by NY customer
The Worldwatch Institute's newly published State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, suggests that low-tech agricultural innovation has a key role to play in... Read morePublished on March 11, 2011 by Karla