Review also includes:
An Overcrowded World? Our Impact on the Planet, 978-0750234276
Here are two volumes that share not only the same author but have much material in common, as so they should, the two topics being sides of the same coin. ‘If you are about 13 years old,’ Bowden alleges, ‘a billion people have been added to the world’s population since you were born.’
Overcrowded starts with Malthus and charts the six-fold world population expansion in the two centuries since his initial warning. The considerations of resources, food, living space, poverty, and population control (‘Keep afloat in the AIDS flood – use a condom’) are painstakingly examined with commendable clarity and the unattractively laid out text is enlivened by ‘Fact’, ‘Debate’ and ‘Viewpoint’ statements. These latter, although sited in the pages’ margins, are far from marginal in nature.
Food Supply starts with the accepted truism that the problem is not a shortage of food, but who gets what and how much. Per person, globally, we eat 18% more calories than in 1970. Not only globally, though, but globularly, as this increase largely goes into the bellies of those who don’t need it, providing at least a quarter-million obesity-related deaths annually in the USA. Statistics of the same nature pervade this book as it ranges through the green revolution, food supply improvement and the environment. Climate changes and land degradation, cash crops versus sustenance agriculture, distribution and fair trade get fair treatment So here’s a matched pair of research primers that tend to make the publishers’ claim of ‘Ideal for Citizenship’ quite credible. Library stocks should benefit.