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How Wall Street, Chinese billionaires, oil sheiks, and agribusiness are buying up huge tracts of land in a hungry, crowded world.
An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the wor…
How Wall Street, Chinese billionaires, oil sheiks, and agribusiness are buying up huge tracts of land in a hungry, crowded world.
An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages or eager to profit from them, the world’s wealthiest and most acquisitive countries, corporations, and individuals have been buying and leasing vast tracts of land around the world. The scale is astounding: parcels the size of small countries are being gobbled up across the plains of Africa, the paddy fields of Southeast Asia, the jungles of South America, and the prairies of Eastern Europe. Veteran science writer Fred Pearce spent a year circling the globe to find out who was doing the buying, whose land was being taken over, and what the effect of these massive land deals seems to be.
The Land Grabbers is a first-of-its-kind exposé that reveals the scale and the human costs of the land grab, one of the most profound ethical, environmental, and economic issues facing the globalized world in the twenty-first century. The corporations, speculators, and governments scooping up land cheap in the developing world claim that industrial-scale farming will help local economies. But Pearce’s research reveals a far more troubling reality. While some mega-farms are ethically run, all too often poor farmers and cattle herders are evicted from ancestral lands or cut off from water sources. The good jobs promised by foreign capitalists and home governments alike fail to materialize. Hungry nations are being forced to export their food to the wealthy, and corporate potentates run fiefdoms oblivious to the country beyond their fences.
Pearce’s story is populated with larger-than-life characters, from financier George Soros and industry tycoon Richard Branson, to Gulf state sheikhs, Russian oligarchs, British barons, and Burmese generals. We discover why Goldman Sachs is buying up the Chinese poultry industry, what Lord Rothschild and a legendary 1970s asset-stripper are doing in the backwoods of Brazil, and what plans a Saudi oil billionaire has for Ethiopia. Along the way, Pearce introduces us to the people who actually live on, and live off of, the supposedly “empty” land that is being grabbed, from Cambodian peasants, victimized first by the Khmer Rouge and now by crony capitalism, to African pastoralists confined to ever-smaller tracts.
Over the next few decades, land grabbing may matter more, to more of the planet’s people, than even climate change. It will affect who eats and who does not, who gets richer and who gets poorer, and whether agrarian societies can exist outside corporate control. It is the new battle over who owns the planet.
How will humans adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth? The Limits to Growth addressed this grand question 40 years ago, predicting that during the first half of the 21st century the ongoin…
How will humans adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth? The Limits to Growth addressed this grand question 40 years ago, predicting that during the first half of the 21st century the ongoing growth in the human ecological footprint would stop-either through catastrophic "overshoot and collapse," -or through well-managed "peak and decline."
So, where are we now? And what does our future look like? In the book 2052, Jorgen Randers issues a progress report and makes a forecast for the next 40 years. One of the original co-authors of The Limits to Growth, Randers asks dozens of experts to weigh in with their best predictions on how our economies, energy supplies, natural resources, climate, food, fisheries, militaries, political divisions, cities, psyches, and more will take shape in the coming decades. He then synthesizes these scenarios into a global forecast of life as we will most likely know it in the years ahead.
The good news: We will see impressive advances in resource efficiency and an increasing focus on human well-being (rather than on per capita income growth). But this change might not come as we expect. Future growth in population and gross domestic product, for instance, will be constrained in surprising ways-by rapid fertility decline as a result of increased urbanization, productivity decline as a result of social unrest, and continuing poverty among the poorest 2 billion world citizens. Runaway global warming, too, is likely.
So, how do we prepare for the years ahead? With heart, fact and wisdom, Randers guides us along a realistic path into the future and discusses what readers can do to ensure a better life for themselves and their children during the increasing turmoil of the next 40 years.
More than 90 percent of the power generated in the United States comes from large, centralized, highly polluting, nonrenewable sources of energy. It is delivered through long, brittle transmission lin…
More than 90 percent of the power generated in the United States comes from large, centralized, highly polluting, nonrenewable sources of energy. It is delivered through long, brittle transmission lines, and then is squandered through inefficiency and waste. But it doesn't have to be that way. Communities can indeed produce their own local, renewable energy.
Power From the People explores how homeowners, co-ops, nonprofit institutions, governments and businesses are putting power in the hands of local communities through distributed energy programs and energy-efficiency measures.
Using examples from around the nation – and occasionally from around the world – Greg Pahl explains how to plan, organize, finance and launch community-scale energy projects that harvest energy from sun, wind, water and earth. He also explains why community power is a necessary step on the path to energy security and community resilience – particularly as we face peak oil, cope with climate change and address the need to transition to a more sustainable future.
Scientific studies have shown that natural environments can have remarkable benefits for human health. Natural environments are more likely to promote positive emotions; and viewing and walking in nat…
Scientific studies have shown that natural environments can have remarkable benefits for human health. Natural environments are more likely to promote positive emotions; and viewing and walking in nature have been associated with heightened physical and mental energy. Nature has also been found to have a positive impact on children who have been diagnosed with impulsivity, hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder. A powerful wake-up call for our tech-immersed society, Your Brain on Nature examines the fascinating effects that exposure to nature can have on the brain.
Increasing the energy efficiency of your home can save you money, help the environment and enhance your comfort, but how do you decide which improvements are the most beneficial and cost-effective? Co…
Increasing the energy efficiency of your home can save you money, help the environment and enhance your comfort, but how do you decide which improvements are the most beneficial and cost-effective? Completely revised to incorporate the latest developments in green technology, The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings is the definitive resource for consumers who want to better their home's performance while reducing their energy bills.
Well-organized and highly readable, The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings begins with an overview of the relationships between energy use, economics and the environment. Updated and expanded chapters focus on specific aspects of any home, such as heating and cooling, ventilation, electronics, lighting, cooking and laundry, and provide helpful explanations for each, including:
Millions of acres of land have been contaminated by pesticides, improperly handled chemicals, dirty energy projects, toxic waste, and other pollutants in the United States and Canada. This toxic legac…
Millions of acres of land have been contaminated by pesticides, improperly handled chemicals, dirty energy projects, toxic waste, and other pollutants in the United States and Canada. This toxic legacy impacts the environment, our health, our watersheds, and land that could otherwise be used to grow healthy local food and medicines. Conventional cleanup techniques employed by government and industry are tremendously expensive and resource-intensive and can cause further damage. More and more communities find themselves increasingly unable to rely on those companies and governments who created the problems to step in and provide solutions.
Earth Repair describes a host of powerful grassroots bioremediation techniques, including:
People can live without SUVs, jet travel and many other luxuries. But no life, human or otherwise, can survive without our most precious natural resource: water.Do-It-Yourself Sustainable …
People can live without SUVs, jet travel and many other luxuries. But no life, human or otherwise, can survive without our most precious natural resource: water.
Do-It-Yourself Sustainable Water Projects offers a basis for understanding the importance of conserving water, explains how the lack of it affects different regions around the world, and provides practical information on how to collect, store, purify and drill for this magical substance.
In this easy-to-follow guide, master mechanic Paul Dempsey provides cost-effective ways we can reduce or eliminate our dependence on public water supplies. Everything you need to know to create 10 inexpensive water projects is here, from collecting rainwater and air conditioner condensate to properly drilling and constructing pump systems. These projects are accompanied by step-by-step instructions, drawings, photos and even sources for inexpensive parts - so you can do it yourself.
Whether you're interested in becoming knowledgeable about insufficient global water supplies or you just want to conserve water, this book is an effective way to help save our most critical resource. With it in hand, you can tackle everything from creating a composting toilet to building a rainwater harvesting system.
Do-it-Yourself Sustainable Water Projects includes information on:
Thoroughly revised and expanded, Build Your Own Electric Vehicle, Third Edition, is your go-to guide for converting an internal combustion engine vehicle to electric or building an EV from the ground …
Thoroughly revised and expanded, Build Your Own Electric Vehicle, Third Edition, is your go-to guide for converting an internal combustion engine vehicle to electric or building an EV from the ground up. You'll also find out about the wide variety of EVs available for purchase and how they're being built. This new edition details all the latest breakthroughs, including AC propulsion and regenerative braking systems, intelligent controllers, batteries, and charging technologies.
Filled with updated photos, this cutting-edge resource fully describes each component: motor, battery, controller, charger and chassis. The book also provides illustrated, step-by-step instructions on how to assemble all the parts, and exclusive web content features current supplier and dealer lists. Custom-built for environmentalists, engineers, students, hobbyists, and mechanics, this hands-on guide puts you in the fast lane toward a cost-effective, reliable green machine.
Build Your Own Electric Vehicle, Third Edition, covers:
A compelling book about the water crisis facing the West, grounded in history and important for residents as well as readers nationwide. This narrative weaves together the stories of human folly and g…
A compelling book about the water crisis facing the West, grounded in history and important for residents as well as readers nationwide. This narrative weaves together the stories of human folly and grandiose endeavor that shaped the states and reveal the background of the critical economic and political issue that is how water is used and misused today.
Winds sweeping through the Great Plains once robbed the Farm Belt of its future, stripping away overworked topsoil and creating the dreaded Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Today, those winds are bringing new …
Winds sweeping through the Great Plains once robbed the Farm Belt of its future, stripping away overworked topsoil and creating the dreaded Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Today, those winds are bringing new hope to the declining rural communities of the central United States. Nowhere is wind’s promise more palpable than in Cloud County, Kansas, where the soaring turbines of the Meridian Way Wind Farm are boosting incomes and bringing green jobs to a community that has, for decades, watched its children drift away.
In Harvest the Wind, Philip Warburg brings readers face-to-face with the people behind the green economy–powered resurgence in Cloud County and communities like it across the United States. This corner of Kansas is the first stop on an odyssey that introduces readers to farmers, factory workers, biologists, and high-tech entrepreneurs—all players in a transformative industry that is taking hold across America and around the globe.
In this illuminating book, Warburg reveals both the remarkable growth of a breakthrough technology and the formidable challenges it faces. He visits epicenters of anti-wind opposition as well as communities that have embraced wind farms as neighbors. He guides readers through an Iowa turbine assembly plant that is struggling to compete in a global marketplace dominated by European and Chinese manufacturers. And he looks at the thousands of miles that wind-generated power will need to travel to reach American consumers.
Harvest the Wind is an earthly antidote to loftier treatises on global warming and green energy. By showing us how practical solutions are being implemented at the local level, Warburg offers an inspirational look at how we can all pursue a saner and more sustainable energy future—while at the same time investing in the nation’s infrastructure and jumpstarting its economy.
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