Full Planet, Empty Plate: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. Lester Brown. 2012. W.W. Norton & Co., N.Y. 144 pp. pbk. ISBN 978-0-393-34415-8
Lester Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute, is one of the great big-picture thinkers and communicators of our time. As the latest in his Plan B series (Plan B, Plan B 2.0, Plan B 3.0, Plan B 4.0, and World on the Edge), Full Planet, Empty Plate outlines in concise and compelling logic the deteriorating condition of the world's food system. Chapter 1 opens with the sentence: "The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity." And in the chapters that follow, Brown outlines the challenges humanity faces in the next few decades with respect to growing food.
1. Food: The Weak Link
2. The Ecology of Population Growth
3. Moving Up the Food Chain
4. Food or Fuel?
5. Eroding Soils Darkening Our Future
6. Peak Water and Food Scarcity
7. Grain Yields Starting to Plateau
8. Rising Temperatures, Rising Food Prices
9. China and the Soybean Challenge
10. The Global Land Rush
11. Can We Prevent a Food Breakdown?
Read Full Planet, Empty Plates and then begin to think of ways of addressing any one of these important issues. The book is available in hard copy or as a free download from the Earth Policy Institute. Or order from your neighborhood book shop.