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Sustainability & Rabbis by Environmental Leader, Lester Brown

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Eminent Environmental Leader, Lester Brown, Urges Religious Leaders to Act Now on Threats to Food, Water and Security

Speaking to a national gathering of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in New Orleans, Brown warned that climate change and population growth will mean widespread, worldwide food and water shortages. Urging the religious community to engage fully to help prevent widespread environmental and economic collapse, Brown asked: if we continue business as usual, how much time do we have left before our global civilization unravels?…April 7, 2011 Lester Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute and described by the Washington Post as one of the world’s most influential thinkers, has urged Rabbis, American Jews and the interfaith world community to take bold action now on issues of food, water, and family planning.

Speaking to a national gathering of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in New Orleans, Brown warned that climate change and population growth will mean widespread, worldwide food and water shortages. Urging the religious community to engage fully to help prevent widespread environmental and economic collapse, Brown asked: if we continue business as usual, how much time do we have left before our global civilization unravels?…Brown’s visionary Plan 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization warns that the perfect storm or the ultimate recession could come at any time: It will likely be triggered by an unprecedented harvest shortfall, one caused by a combination of crop-withering heat waves and emerging water shortages as aquifers are depleted.

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Population Pressure: Land and Water

In 1950, Rwanda’s population was 2.4 million. By 1993, it had tripled to 7.5 million, making it the most densely populated country in Africa. As population grew, so did the demand for firewood. By 1991, the demand was more than double the sustainable yield of local forests. As trees disappeared, straw and other crop residues were used for cooking fuel. With less organic matter in the soil, land fertility declined.

As the health of the land deteriorated, so did that of the people dependent on it. Eventually there was simply not enough
food to go around. A quiet desperation developed. Like a drought-afflicted countryside, it could be ignited with a single
match. That ignition came with the crash of a plane on April 6, 1994, shot down as it approached the capital Kigali, killing President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu. The crash unleashed an organized attack by Hutus, leading to an estimated 800,000 deaths of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days. In some villages, whole families were slaughtered lest there be survivors to claim the family plot of land.

 

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About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Eco-warrior, won E.U. Green Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award. Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

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