Lester Brown asks for a window seat whenever he flies so that he can look down at the earth. That’s one more vantage point from which to view the evolving environmental panorama he has been examining for almost half a century. He spends a lot of time in the air, heading to audiences in all corners of the planet where his controversial predictions have gained attention.
Over the years Brown, who founded the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute, both in Washington, D.C., has often seemed a gloomy prophet. The subtitles of his most recent worldwide best sellers, the Plan B series, attest to this impression: Rescuing a Planet under Stress, A Civilization in Trouble and, with added urgency, Mobilizing to Save Civilization. He has warned of potentially destabilizing and costly food shortages, populations outstripping dwindling natural resources, water tables falling precipitously and glaciers retreating, bringing drought and floods. Critics have told him to lighten up: humanity has a way of adapting.
This article was originally published with the title The Persistent Prophet.