Lester Brown is a United States environmental analyst, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, and founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C.

Brown emphasizes the geopolitical effects of fast-rising grain prices, noting that ‘the biggest threat to global stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries’, and one that could ‘bring down civilization’. In Foreign Policy Magazine, he describes how the ‘new geopolitics of food’ has, in 2011, already begun to contribute to revolutions and upheaval in various countries.

In 1974, Brown founded the Worldwatch Institute, the first research institute devoted to the analysis of global environmental issues. While there, he launched the Worldwatch Papers, the annual State of the World reports, World Watch magazine, a second annual entitled Vital Signs: The Trends That are Shaping Our Future, and the Environmental Alert book series.

The Institute eventually became noted for being an independent and respected think tank focusing on environmental issues and also a storehouse for a large amount of environmental information. Their goal is to educate the public and government about environmental problems and to recommend actions. The institute has refused to become a lobbying organization, with Brown saying, ‘the world is filled with specialists who dig deep burrows into the earth and bring up these nuggets of insight, but there's no one up on top pulling it all together. That's our job’.

In 2001, he left Worldwatch Institute to establish the Earth Policy Institute, to provide a vision and a road map for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy. At the Institute, his years of working on global issues through an interdisciplinary lens have enabled him to identify trends those working in specialized areas might not see. Some of the more important works Brown has written at the Institute include World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse (2011), Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth (2001), and the Plan B series.

Brown has authored and co-authored over 50 books. One of the world's most widely published authors, his books have appeared in some 40 languages. Among his earlier books are Man, Land and Food, World Without Borders and Building a Sustainable Society. His 1995 book Who Will Feed China? challenged the official view of China’s food prospect, spawning hundreds of conferences and seminars. Over the years his books have influenced the thinking and actions of many world leaders.

Brown is the recipient of many prizes and awards, including 25 honorary degrees, and is an honorary professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Brown was listed as one of the top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine in both 2010 and 2011, and as one of 2003’s 500 Most Influential People in U.S. Foreign Policy, World Affairs Council of America.

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