19世紀知名人口學家馬爾薩斯預言人口與糧食間的相對關係極可能因為人口逐年攀升而導致糧食嚴重不足；然而當時他無法預見20世紀中即將掀起一場現代化農業的綠色革命──耐旱抗寒的種子培育、排水系統與農業管理模式的革新，再加上化學肥料及除草劑的研發與普遍施用，使得農糧產量倍增，成功的化解因人口激增而產生的糧食危機。然而，半個世紀後的今日，全球人口仍持續上升，但長年受到化肥與農藥催殘的土地卻已無法再維持過往的產能，近年來為數頻繁的天災與氣候變異更讓糧食危機的陰影再次浮現！長年關心環境保護議題的知名記者Joel K. Bourne將帶領讀者穿梭古今，探究糧食生產的歷史，更實地走訪世界各地的農業重鎮，報導第一線農業從業人員轉型從事友善農法，為土地保育及永續發展所作的創新變革。
“An urgent and at times terrifying dispatch from a distinguished reporter who has given heart and soul to his subject.”―Hampton Sides
When the demographer Robert Malthus (1766–1834) famously outlined the brutal relationship between food and population, he never imagined the success of modern scientific agriculture. In the mid-twentieth century, an unprecedented agricultural advancement known as the Green Revolution brought hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers, and improved irrigation that drove the greatest population boom in history―but left ecological devastation in its wake.
In The End of Plenty, award-winning environmental journalist Joel K. Bourne Jr. puts our race to feed the world in dramatic perspective. With a skyrocketing world population and tightening global grain supplies spurring riots and revolutions, humanity must produce as much food in the next four decades as it has since the beginning of civilization to avoid a Malthusian catastrophe. Yet climate change could render half our farmland useless by century’s end.
Writing with an agronomist’s eye for practical solutions and a journalist’s keen sense of character, detail, and the natural world, Bourne takes readers from his family farm to international agricultural hotspots to introduce the new generation of farmers and scientists engaged in the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. He discovers young, corporate cowboys trying to revive Ukraine as Europe’s breadbasket, a Canadian aquaculturist channeling ancient Chinese traditions, the visionary behind the world’s largest organic sugar-cane plantation, and many other extraordinary individuals struggling to increase food supplies―quickly and sustainably―as droughts, floods, and heat waves hammer crops around the globe.
Part history, part reportage and advocacy, The End of Plenty is a panoramic account of the future of food, and a clarion call for anyone concerned about our planet and its people.