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Worldwatch Institute: weighting environment and politics

An NGO that investigates the relationships between the environment and social policy. Among the many works published by the organization, it is best known for its prestigious, annual State of the World report.

The Worldwatch Institute defines itself as an “organization that works for an environmentally sustainable and socially just society, in which the needs of all people are met without threatening the health of the natural environment or the well-being of future generations.”

Since 1984, the institute’s annual report, The State of The World, has served as an annual reference detailing the most urgent environmental problems and the solutions that are currently being tried or that are suggested by the organization in different parts of the world.

Using interdisciplinary research, a global subject matter and accessible writing, the organization attempts to explain the interrelatedness between economic, social, and environmental trends.

Their main research areas are people, nature, energy and the economy, but extend to others like population, food, water, urbanization, pollution, materials use, transportation, consumption, globalization and sustainable economics.

The Worldwatch Institute maintains their independence through donations from foundations and individuals, although nearly a third of the organization’s income is derived from the sale of its publications, including their flagship State of the World and Vital Signs reports, the bi-monthly World Watch magazine and the topical Worldwatch Paper series, among other books and publications.

The institute relies on internal staff as well as on international research agreements. Their work is published in 40 countries and 25 languages.

Besides major languages like English, Spanish, Arabic and Cantonese, Worldwatch works can be consulted in Basque, Bulgarian, Tamil and Thai, among others.

The Worldwatch Institute was founded in 1974 by Lester R. Brown, environmental analyst and author of various books on the main global environmental problems. Among his more than 20 published books, he is best known for To Save the Planet, plan B: ecology for a world in danger.

The economist, biologist and environmental scientist Christopher Flavin is the current president of the Worldwatch Institute.