At COA UK Journalist Talks on Global “Land-Grabbers”

Posted Feb. 15, 2013, at 12:08 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 15, 2013, at 1:09 p.m.

Friday, March 1, 2013 7 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Location: College of the Atlantic - Gates Community Center, 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, Maine

For more information: Ken Cline; 207-288-5015;

BAR HARBOR, Maine — An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the world, says journalist Fred Pearce. Fearing future food shortages or eager to profit from them, the world’s wealthiest and most acquisitive countries, corporations, and individuals have been buying and leasing vast tracts of land throughout the world. On Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m., Pearce comes to College of the Atlantic’s Gates Community Center to talk about “The Land Grabbers: the new fight over who owns the Earth.”

In his talk, Pearce travels across the globe to explore how Wall Street, Chinese billionaires, oil sheikhs, and agribusinesses are buying up huge tracts of land in a hungry, crowded world. He visits board rooms and forest clearings, trading houses and farmers’ fields. He finds that water is often as important as land for the new imperialists. This resource rush of the 21st century—happening on a massive scale—will determine whether millions of Africans remain landowners or become laborers for foreign agribusiness. It may decide whether a future world can be fed, or whether it will starve.

Pearce is a freelance author and journalist based in London. He has been the environment consultant of New Scientist magazine since 1992, reporting from 67 countries. He also writes regularly for the Yale e360 web site in the United States, and the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper. Recent commissions include National Geographic and the Washington Post. Pearce won a lifetime achievement award for his journalism from the Association of British Science Writers in 2011, and was voted UK Environment Journalist of the Year in 2001. His recent books include The Land Grabbers, The Coming Population Crash, When the Rivers Run Dry, and Confessions of an Eco Sinner. To research The Land Grabbers, Pearce spent a year circling the globe to find out who was doing the buying, whose land was being taken over, and what the effect of these massive land deals seems to be.

According to the Washington Post, “Pearce has produced a powerful piece of journalism that illuminates how the drive for expanded food production is transforming the planet. Anyone who cares where her next meal is coming from should read it.”

For more on the 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, talk in COA’s Gates Community Center by journalist Fred Pearce please contact Ken Cline at or 207-288-5015.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit