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State of the World: Innovations That Nourish the Planet (State of the World)

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State of the World: Innovations That Nourish the Planet (State of the World) Cover

ISBN13: 9780393338805
ISBN10: 0393338800
Condition: Standard
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Known for tackling the most pressing issues that face our world, the Worldwatch Institute has dedicated the 2011 edition of its flagship report to a compelling look at the global food crisis, with particular emphasis on what innovators globally can do to help solve a worldwide problem. not only introduces us to the latest agro-ecological innovations and their global applicability but also gives broader insights into issues including poverty, international politics, and even gender equity. Written in clear, concise language, with easy-to-read charts and tables, , produced with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provides a practical vision of the innovations that will allow billions of people to feed themselves, while restoring rural economies, creating livelihoods, and sustaining the natural resource base on which agriculture depends.

Synopsis:

From the Worldwatch Institute, the premier environmental nonprofit, an incisive account of the global food crisis--and how it can be solved.

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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Courtney Kathryn, April 15, 2011 (view all comments by Courtney Kathryn)
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 delivery, production, and waste of food. The issue, as is made clear in the foreword by Olivier De Schutter, is not a lack of food, as most of us would have assumed. This opening statement from State of the World 2011 defines the focus of the Worldwatch Institute’s latest report. “We live in a world in which we produce more food than ever before and in which the hungry have never been as many.”

Food is plentiful, yet a child dies of malnutrition every six seconds. It seems that, in our single-minded efforts to increase yield, we’ve overlooked the more important work of making food accessible.

Contributors emphasize the importance of sustainable agriculture and an efficient cooperation from governments and suppliers, as well as encouraging implementation of promising innovations (or retro-vations) in farming. It is their contention that everyone on this planet could eat and eat well with only a few changes to our food distribution system. It isn’t large sums of money or improvements in technology that are needed; sustainable, local, place-appropriate agricultural methods could make a forceful and positive change immediately, with greater yields in each successive year. “By empowering small farmers - particularly women… with simple but transformative innovations,” writes Worldwatch Institute President Christopher Flavin, “rapid and productive change is possible.

Communities invested and involved in the process of food production are the key to a successful transition. “Farmers need to be in the forefront in development identifying their needs, assets … solutions.” This sounds so simple, so starry-eyed idealistic, but the authors are not pulling ideas from the clouds. State of the World 2011 provides numerous case studies in which a locally-driven, sustainable approach to food production has been successful, such as

* the One Acre Fund, which allows farmers in Africa to receive an in-kind loan of seed and fertilizer as well as training in land preparation, planting, harvesting, and crop storage.
* The Institute for Sustainable Development program in Ethiopia, which helps farmers learn improved irrigation techniques and effective alternatives to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
* Heifer International in Rwanda, a country still recovering from devastating civil war and genocide, which offers cows along with training to help farmers provide milk for consumption and manure for fertilizing vegetable plots.

These are but a few of the many hopeful and inspiring stories that highlight the sensible and effective approach advocated by the Worldwatch Institute. Contributors Brian Halweil and Danielle Nierenberg suggest a new way to measure success in the fight against hunger; Serena Milano addresses the need for local biodiversity; and Dianne Forte, Royce Gloria Androa, and Marie-Ange Binagwaho collaborate on a chapter that discusses the importance of drawing on the agricultural wisdom and experience of women.

What we need now is a cohesive movement to tackle food production and delivery in a workable manner, rather than operating in a business-as-usual mode that never has and never will address the needs of vast portions of the world’s population. State of the World 2011 is a positive and inspiring revelation that gives us a new strategy for strengthening what is arguably the foundation of most of the world’s biggest problems.

- Originally posted on Curled Up With A Good Book
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Ben Hubbard, March 11, 2011 (view all comments by Ben Hubbard)
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".

Many of the agricultural innovations explored in State of the World 2011, says Worldwatch, can help reverse damage done to water and soils through food production, as well as to the ecosystem services that everyone depends on. Amid the challenges that lie ahead, wise implementation of appropriate technology, knowledge and skills can produce myriad benefits for Africa. These include protecting freshwater supplies, safeguarding local food biodiversity, restoring fisheries, adapting to climate change and improving human health.

"Nourishing people and nourishing the planet are now as inextricably linked as they are essential to our future," Flavin writes. With more systematic and radical thinking about the future of the world's food network, "agriculture may once again become the centre of human innovation - and the goals of ending hunger and creating a sustainable world will be a little closer than they are today." And certainly closer than they were when that first State of the World report was published in 1984. -- By Maryann Bird, associate editor of chinadialogue.
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Vickie Umami, March 11, 2011 (view all comments by Vickie Umami)
The Worldwatch Institute, a group that conducts research on climate, energy, food, agriculture, and the green economy, has just released its 2011 State of the World Report, subtitled "Innovations that Nourish the Planet."

By "innovations," Worldwatch means agriculture-based methods that have been shown to prevent food waste, help resist climate change, and promote urban farming. The report describes 15 such innovations, all of them environmentally sustainable.

As Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, write in the introduction, Increasing the production of food and eradicating hunger and malnutrition are two very different objectives - complementary perhaps, but not necessarily linked...Some clear conclusions are emerging from all this evidence.

We need to improve the resilience of countries - particularly poor, net food-importing countries - vis-a-vis increasingly high and volatile prices on the international markets.

We need to encourage modes of agricultural production that will be more resistant to climate change, which means that they will have to be more diversified and use more trees...And we need to develop agriculture in ways that contribute to rural development by creating jobs both on farms and off them in the rural areas and by supporting decent revenues for farmers.

The report describes programs that do just those things. Examples: breeding rice in Madagascar, trading grain in Zanzibar, using solar cookers in Senegal, and promoting safer wastewater irrigation in West Africa.

It's always useful to have Worldwatch reports and this one is especially relevant to food, agriculture, and international development.

-by Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, and the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780393338805
Author:
Worldwatch Institute
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Author:
The Worldwatch Institute
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
Environmental Studies-General
Edition Description:
Paperback
Series:
State of the World
Publication Date:
20110131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
237
Dimensions:
9.25 x 7 x 1 in

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Related Subjects

Business » Manufacturing and Product Development
History and Social Science » Sociology » Agriculture and Food
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

State of the World: Innovations That Nourish the Planet (State of the World) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 237 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393338805 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , From the Worldwatch Institute, the premier environmental nonprofit, an incisive account of the global food crisis--and how it can be solved.
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