In the mid-1970s, Brown helped pioneer the concept of sustainable development, during a career that started with farming. As early as 1978, in his book The Twenty-Ninth Day, he was already warning of "the various dangers arising out of our manhandling of nature...by overfishing the oceans, stripping the forests, turning land into desert." In 1986, the Library of Congress requested his personal papers noting that his writings “have already strongly affected thinking about problems of world population and resources.”
He has been the recipient of many prizes and awards, including, the 1987 United Nations Environment Prize, the 1989 World Wide Fund for Nature Gold Medal, and the 1994 Blue Planet Prize for his "contributions to solving global environmental problems."
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The Character of Queen Elizabeth, Or, a Full and Clear Account of Her Policies, and the Methods of Her Government Both in Church and State Her Virtue and Defects, Together with the Characters of Her Principal Ministers of State (1693)