Interview With Environmentalist Lester Brown

A MOTHER EARTH NEWS interview with head of the Worldwatch Institute: environmentalist, researcher and futurist Lester Brown on the state and fate of planet earth.

| September/October 1986


Lester Brown, head of the Worldwatch Institute, indicates how thin the topsoil is in some parts of the world. Brown recently won a $250,000 award from the prestigious MacArthur Foundation for his outstanding work.


A leading researcher and futurist, Lester Brown, looks at soil, oil, water, population, and the state — and fate? — of planet Earth. 

While conducting the following interview with Lester Brown, the founder and head of the Worldwatch Institute, Associate Editor Sara Pacher was worried that her tape recorder might not pick up his quiet voice. When she mentioned this concern, Lester smiled. "When you say outrageous things, " he said, "you'd best speak softly. "  

"Before the year is out,"wrote Hugh Sidey in Time magazine, shortly after the Institute's 1986 State of the World Report was published last February, "Brown's presumptuous 263 page volume may be studied more intently by more people in more countries than Reagan's [State of the Union] address. And it is arguably a more accurate and provocative picture of the globe than the one sketched by the President. "  

MOTHER EARTH NEWS has long been aware of the accuracy of Mr. Brown's view of the world; we made him the subject of our interview in our milestone 50th issue. Since then the audience for the Worldwatch Papers (a recent one concerned the high costs of decommissioning nuclear power plants) has grown tremendously.  

Additionally, in 1985 the producers of "NOVA," the prizewinning television show that comes from station WGBH in Boston, invited Worldwatch to work with them to develop a series — to be based on State of the World for public television. This $5 million, 10 part program will air in early 1988.  

It seems only appropriate, as we start on our next 100 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, that we again inscribe a milestone with the words of this knowledgeable, down-to-earth man.  

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