CoastLine: The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World

Dec 2, 2015

The United Nations Climate Change Summit is underway in Paris, and for the first time in years, world leaders are hopeful a global agreement is possible.  Without organized cooperation, NASA scientists say the Earth will see an escalation of catastrophic weather events – such as longer and more intense heat waves, more severe storms, flooding, sea level rise… the list goes on – impacting everything from human health to food production. 

The Charlotte Observer recently sponsored a forum called America’s Water: An Uncertain Future, hosted by Science Friday’s Ira Flatow.  At the Tuesday night event, a senior water scientist from NASA explained why water scarcity is not just a southwestern problem; in fact, the southeast is already seeing its water supply dwindle.

Joel Bourne is a journalist and science writer with a degree in Agronomy from NC State.  He says he once imagined he would follow his grandfather to the fields as a farmer.  But the call of journalism proved stronger.  He reported for National Geographic and served as Senior Editor on the Environment there.  He’s also written for Audubon and Science.  His new book, The End of Plenty:  The Race to Feed a Crowded World, chosen by the Financial Times of London as one of the best books of 2015, warns that if current trends continue, the world “will need to grow nearly twice the amount of food that we currently produce by [the year] 2050 – in order to stave off widespread hunger, misery, violence and ecological destruction…” 

In this edition of CoastLine, we learn why Bourne says there’s an impending food crisis, which experimental food production methods look promising, and whether there are steps individuals can take to change the trajectory.

In-studio guest:  Joel Bourne, Author of The End of Plenty:  The Race to Feed a Crowded World

Author website:  http://joelkbournejr.com/