Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
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Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  353 ratings  ·  69 reviews
In this updated edition of the landmark Plan B, Lester Brown outlines a survival strategy for our early twenty-first-century civilization. The world faces many environmental trends of disruption and decline, including rising temperatures and spreading water shortage. In addition to these looming threats, we face the peaking of oil, annual population growth of 70 million, a...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published January 17th 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Michelle
It was exciting to hear how much is being done already in terms of renewable energy, with lots more in the building or planning phases. The author calls for a an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (not very far away), but makes it sound like a very reachable goal. We have the technology, we just have to have the political will (particularly here in the U.S., which lags way behind the rest of the developed world) to make it happen. In the "what you and I can do" section at the end...more
Mark
I really can't say enough about this book. It seems to me particularly well researched, pragmatic in its approach to solving some of the toughest environmental and social problems facing global civilization.

I would consider myself pretty well versed when it comes to issues potentially bearing the fall of civilization. I've spent a stint as a grad student atmospheric science, I enjoy entertaining outsider theories, i regularly read journals on ocean biochemistry and food security, however the wa...more
Nicolas
Sep 29, 2008 Nicolas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nicolas by: Hemang Dave
Lester Brown and his team compile an extraordinary amount of scientific research to produce this compelling treatise on the status of the world specific to our environment, our natural resources and the opportunities for humanity to either self-destruct or thrive.

The first 127 pages are difficult to read, as they detail all the catastrophic processes that are taking place, from massive-scale desertification to the depletion of water tables and the potentially irreversable climate changes. The no...more
Nicholas Marrone
Plan B is a proposal of what steps must be taken to reverse current trends of environmental destruction and preserve civilization. The 3.0 is because this is the third revision of the Plan which has become gradually more dire as time moves on.

The book is split into two sections. The first covers the environmental and societal problems that we are already experiencing and will soon experience. It covers topics as diverse as food, oil, water, environmental destruction, disease and global warming....more
Rainbowgardener
This is a good book if you want to have data to hand to talk to people about what is going on with our planet and what things we need to be doing and could be doing.

I started it once before and got bogged down in the 120 pp at the beginning detailing all the catastrophes in process--deteriorating oil and food security, rising temperatures and rising seas, water shortages, collapsing natural systems. I read all that stuff all the time and it is grim and depressing.

So this time through I skipped t...more
Janelle
This book is pretty intense. If it's your first exposure to the effects of global warming, hold on to your seat... it's going to be a bumpy ride! Perhaps my gloom-and-doom-o-meter was reading high because I read this while (literally) sick to my stomach, trapped in bed... but I think not. Try to read quickly through the "this is the problem" section and move on to the "solutions" section. The solutions are big and complex, but generally speaking, I think there are things that individuals can do...more
Carolyn
This book was a revelation to me. Of course, I realized that there were serious environmental risks to the planet, and that a major shift to renewable energy was required. But I didn't fully understand just how unsustainable our entire economic system is - the way we grow our food, build our buildings, dispose of our waste, transport ourselves from home to work, etc., etc. And I'd never really thought about the relationship between environmental degradation and failed states from a political per...more
Nat
Lester Brown has sparse way of writing just the 'meat' of what needs to be said. Although some of the material is repeated in more than one of the chapters, his account of the political, economic, and social aspects of our over-exploitation of resources is clear, concise, and understandable by anyone with a 10th-grade reading ability. He also has an excellent grasp of the biological and physical sciences and explains what's going on in a way that anyone with a high school education can understan...more
Barry
Excellent summary of key ecological issues facing human civilisation, and a clear global plan on how to deal with them: 1. Eradicate poverty & Stablise population; 2. Restore the earth; 3. Feed people well (enough & with less ecological impact); 4. Design cities better; 5. Raise energy efficiency; 6. Turn to renewable energy. Provides estimated costings for 1-3, but unfortunately not for 4-6, which is a shame, because even though much can be done via the proposed 'tax-shift' change from...more
Peter
Only read up until the second half of the book where he begins to offer "solutions" to our current problems, perhaps thats a bit cynical of me but I honestly couldn't bring myself to go any further due to his dry "only give you the facts" style and the problem that (in my opinion) as long as the globalized market is in place nothing will really be done about resource depletion and environmental degradation and catastrophic global warming will most certainly not be prevented.. also good luck stop...more
Drew
If you are interested in environmental sustainability, then you may enjoy this book. I would, however, suggest that you skip or skim the first six chapters, which spend a couple hundred pages establishing that there is a problem. If you are interested in the book at all, it's probably safe to assume that you accept the reality of the problem.

Aside from a few logical problems (suggesting a diet level that will sustain a global population of 5 billion people shortly after suggesting stabilizing gl...more
Paul
I read this sometime last year and all I can say is wow. Brown does his research, and if you think that Global Warming is our only problem, or you think that its not even a problem, you should probably should take a look at this. Brown breaks down the crisis in fresh water, agriculture, fossil fuels, and more I can't remember.

The book is available in PDF form at their website.

http://www.earth-policy.org/

Though I read version 3.0 I believe version 4.0 is out now, they keep updating the book as th...more
Christian
I am currently working my way - slowly - through this book. I can't take a lot of it at once because the outlook is so bleak. I know that the author is establishing the problem-space clearly so he can present his solution... but it is kinda like being bludgeoned with a plastic hammer: not as bad as a steel hammer, but it doesn't feel good either.

I'll let you know more as I get through it.

=== UPDATE - May 28, 2008 ===

I have given up on this book. It is a good book with a good message and lots of...more
Amy
I had to return it to the library before I could finish, which was probably a good thing because this book is heartbreaking and terrifying. Or maybe leaving it unfinished prevented me from reading the parts that spoke about the hope for the future. Climate change deniers are the modern equivalent of the flat earth model or those who accused Galileo of heresy for pointing to heliocentrism. Wake up. Pretending it isn't happening won't help your children when their food supply collapses, the aquife...more
Dave
Excellent book with actionable suggestions for moving to renewable energy immediately. Unfortunately, I don't think governments or businesses will move at a fast enough pace to nip our environmental troubles in the bud (they're not backed up enough against a wall), but it's not for lack of intelligent options presented.

Lester Brown is a leading mind and voice in renewables and the environment. Constantly updated by Brown and his Earth Policy Institute, I think version 4.0 is on shelves now.
Mark
This a straight-forward book that details the problems civilization is facing (climate, energy, population, failed states, AIDS, etc.) and just how much money it would take to adequately address those problems. The answer lies somewhere in the range of what we just spent to bail out the greedy, the thieving, the arrogant and the ignorant. Oh well. There's nothing more interesting than watching a culture thrash around with no sense of priorities...
Alex
Jul 20, 2008 Alex rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
"The tragic irony of this moment is that the rich countries are so rich and the poor countries are so poor that a few added tenths of one percent of GNP from the rich ones ramped up over the coming decades could do what was never before possible in human history: ensure that the basic needs of health and educations are met for impoverished children in this world." Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University Earth Institute
Julia
It had a great point about Global Warming and how our world is changing. I liked the fact that I learned so much more than i thought I knew and I saw a different point of view about our climate. This book was easy to follow because the author used graphs and pictures to show numbers and it really made an impact. I would recommend this book to whom ever wants to learn more about Our World and Global Warming!
Tom
It's not enough to just recognize that global warming is likely to annihilate the human species, possibly as early as 2030. That just causes cynicism. This book focuses more on the solution than the bleak outlook. By reading and studying this book, young people can be part of the solution. All of us, young and old, must pick up our tools and get to work.
Denitch Mallory
Brown, a lesser known eco-economist (but smarter than most), writes an excellent summary of the causes, and the effects (now and eventual) of climate change. He at times overly criticizes the business-as-usual model, yet informs his readers enough so they may make the necessary changes.

The thinking person's "Inconvenient Truth".
Léonie
Un livre très clair et facile à lire qui vous permettra de briller dans les diners :)

L'auteur choisit de montrer les grands questions et défis du 21 ème siècle , tout en apportant des solutions viables sur le long terme.
On a envie de mettre le livre entre les mains de tous les dirigeants !(Bill Clinton est fan )
Emily
Good ideas, though some were a little short sighted or poorly explained, but 4 out of 5 for actually recognizing some great ideas that have been around for a while to save our civilizations. Great to get someone less familiar up to speed with possibilities for now and the future.
Bob
Jun 10, 2010 Bob rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bob by: David Abelson
An outstanding analysis of the major environmental and social challenges of the modern world, and the technological and other solutions that already exist to solve them, if only we bring sufficient will to bear. Well written, logical, thought-provoking. Highly recommended.
Sarah
This is a great world prospective on the environmental crisis. Best part about it is that the author updates the book annually to include the very latest information. Unlike many other environmental histories, this book explains the global roots to the problem.
Joe
Simply put, this is one of the greatest and most thorough explications of worldwide environmental and social policy change you will probably ever find. It creates a vision of a healthier world and the policies and costs in creating it. Truly inspirational.
Andrew Simpson
Amazing book. I read the whole thing in one day, and, even though it could be slightly repetitive, I never got tired of it. I almost felt like I was running a race and the winner gets to save the world. If you have a conscious, this book is a must read.
Jasmine
Not only does this book mention the problems facing the global civilization, but it offers realistic solutions and real possibilities for change. It's a little daunting to see all the wrong, but still ends on a positive, hopeful, and encouraging note.
eleanor
visionary. and interesting.
and will make you want to get your butt in gear.
but a bit too much of a laundry list to make it really good reading.
it may not really be meant for cover-to-cover reading... which is what i did. hence the not-so-high score.
Jeanne
Keeping this for reference. Yes, the world can be saved but only if we save it ourselves.

Lots of how-to's and resources for address by government. Some steps for individuals - along with, of course, the lobbying for govt. to take steps needed.
Chris Harty
An incredibly book looking at our current situation on earth. Really eye opening to some of the catastrophes, both ecological and social, that are going on around the world. I think every person should have to read this book.
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Lester Russell Brown is an American environmentalist, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, and founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. BBC Radio commentator Peter Day calls him "one of the great pioneer environmentalists."

In the mid-1970s, Brown helped pioneer the concept of sustainable development, during a career that start...more
More about Lester Russell Brown...
Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble (Updated and Expanded Edition) Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity Eco-Economy

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