ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

[talk] “On the Edge of Tomorrow” by Lester Brown

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When I started studying environmental engineering, the annually released books “State of the Planet” (published by the Worldwatch Institute, there is one for 2011) were places where I derived some of the meaning why I am studying environmental engineering. They were the source from where I learned about reality and its problems.

So I was happy to read at Randy Olson’s blog “The Benshi” about a talk Lester Brown gave recently:


Despite Randy criticizing Lester’s rhethoric, I learned a few interesting things from Lester’s talk:

  • Adding nitrogen to soy beans doesn’t improve yields. If you want to increase the yield of soy beans, you have to plant more soy beans.
  • “Wind scales up”: a typical wind power plant produces ~5,000MW of energy, some are up to 10,000MW (which is about ten nuclear power plants). China started recently the development of seven wind power plants, each with a minimum of 10,000MW, the biggest one with 38,000MW. The energy produced by the biggest one would meet the needs of the country of Poland.
  • Lester Brown pieced three indicators which would tell him the status of the planet:
    • economic indicator: price of grain
    • social indicator: number of hungry people in the world
    • political indicator: number of failing states in the world

Written by Claus

December 29th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

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