Lester R. Brown is an American agricultural economist and writer. He is also the founder and president of the Worldwatch Institute. A strong advocate of sustainable agriculture, Brown has overseen numerous publications and has written as many
on his own.Born in New Jersey in 1934, Brown first connected to agriculture and its capacity to sustain humans while growing tomatoes for his own family to eat. Intrigued by nature's possibilities here, Brown went on in 1955 to receive a
degree in agricultural science. He then moved to India to work on rural agricultural problems, becoming in 1959 an international agriculture analyst in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service. Later, Brown received two master's degrees, one in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland, and one in public administration from Harvard University. In 1964, he became an advisor to Orville Freeman, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Brown set up the Overseas Development Council in 1969, and in 1974 he founded the Worldwatch Institute. This organization analyzes international problems, such as famine and overpopulation. In 1984, Brown founded Worldwatch's annual State of the World report, which documents environmental trends and problems. Currently in print in 26 languages, State of the World is considered very influential. Brown also helped launch other
Worldwatch publications, including the magazine Worldwatch.
In addition to his organizational work, Brown has authored a number of works, including over a dozen books. He is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and a Board Member of Green Seal. Through the latter organization, Brown promotes environmentally-sound consumer products.
Brown received the United Nations 1989 Environmental Prize and the "genius award" from the MacArthur Foundation.
Currently, Lester Brown continues to promote agriculturally sustainable national policies and to identify the social changes necessary for a healthy environment.
Selected works by Lester R. Brown