Dr. Lester R. Brown Inaugural Speaker for Council on the Environment Distinguished Lecture Series
Thursday, 11 October 2012
By Cathy Stephens
The University of Maryland’s Council on the Environment is pleased to host Dr. Lester R. Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, as its inaugural speaker in their Annual Distinguished Lecture Series on the Environment. Brown is considered one of the heroes and pioneers of global environmentalism. The Washington Post recently heralded him as “One of the world’s most influential thinkers.” Brown’s lecture is open to the campus community and general public, and will focus on his new book Full Planet, Empty Plates – The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. Brown has been awarded 25 honorary degrees and has authored or coauthored over 50 books. One of the world's most widely published author, his books have appeared in some 40 languages.
Dr. Brown will speak on “food as the new oil”. With food scarcity driven by falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures, control of arable land and water resources is moving to center stage in the global struggle for food security. In this era of tightening world food supplies, the ability to grow food is fast becoming a new form of geopolitical leverage. What will the geopolitics of food look like in a new era dominated by scarcity and food nationalism? He will outline the political implications of land acquisitions by grain-importing countries in Africa and elsewhere as well as the world’s shrinking buffers against poor harvests, and exposes the increasingly volatile food situation the world is facing.
Former U.S. Senator and member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, Joseph Tydings, will provide opening remarks as to the importance of the topic from a national and international geopolitical perspective. Following Senator Tydings, Herman E. Daly, Emeritus Professor at the University of Maryland, School of Public Policy will introduce Dr. Brown. From 1988 to 1994 Professor Daly was a Senior Economist in the Environment Department of the World Bank, and in 2010 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council for Science and the Environment. The Council on the Environment was established by the University of Maryland in November 2011. A major charge to the Council is to coordinate and oversee strategic efforts to place the University of Maryland at the forefront of environmental and earth system science. Breaking down traditional barriers of research to a more interdisciplinary approach is critical to their success. Thus, one of the Council’s first initiatives was to develop an Annual Distinguished Lecture Series on the Environment to promote the interdisciplinary nature of environmental research. To have Lester Brown as the inaugural speaker is a great coup for the Council. ”I am thrilled to have Lester Brown, a Maryland graduate and member of the university’s Alumni Hall of Fame, be the inaugural speaker at the Council on the Environment’s Annual Distinguished Lecture Series. Dr. Brown is not only a visionary when it comes to the present and forthcoming environmental challenges we face here and abroad, but his writing forces one to pause and confront our individual and collective responsibilities”, stated Antonio Busalacchi, Chair, Council on the Environment.
A reception will occur at 4pm on Monday, 12 November 2012 in the Atrium of the Computer Science Instructional Center. The lecture and a Q&A will begin at 5pm in Room 1115 of the Computer Science Instructional Center. When entering campus via the main gate, make the very first right, CSIC is the 1st building on the right - nearby and free parking after 4pm. For more information: www.cone.umd.edu
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