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Environment

From Hurricane Katrina To Food Scarcity: Meet Nature Reporter Joel Bourne

Image of Joel Bourne
Andrew Tie
/
WUNC
Joel Bourne is an environment reporter and contributing writer for National Geographic.

Eastern North Carolina native Joel Bourne was living down the road from his family farm at the end of the Green Revolution in the mid-20th century.

At that time, newly modified wheat seeds produced an agricultural boom that allowed farmers across the world to grow more crops than ever before. It was the answer to a growing crisis of food scarcity.

But it also meant the crops would need more pesticides than ever before. Bourne immediately noticed the strong connection between food and the environment, and it thrust him into a career as an environment reporter for Mother Earth News, Defenders of Wildlife, and National Geographic. 

Nearly 25 years later, Bourne has covered the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Oil Spill, and now has returned to the subject of food scarcity.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Bourne about how his origins in eastern North Carolina led to a career of covering the top environmental stories in the United States.

Bourne's new book, The End of Plenty (W.W. Norton & Company/2015), argues that as much food must be produced in the next four decades as has been produced since the beginning of civilization.

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