Peter's Reviews > Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble

Plan B 2.0 by Lester Russell Brown
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's review
May 29, 08

it was amazing
Read in May, 2008

Plan B refers to the authors belief that we need to desert the oil-based, disposable economy that has flourished in the U.S. for the past hundred years. The book is written in two parts. The first section highlights aspects of the unsustainable course that we are on: peak oil, water shortages, rising temperatures and sea levels, and deterioration of natural systems. It's pretty stark, and he does not soften it up-- for one reason or the other, we've gotten ourselves here, so now it is time to confront it head on.

The second section presents Plan B, his way of dealing with the problems of the first section. A few points particularly stand out. First, several major problems, specifically water shortages and environmental degradation, are driven by overpopulation. While most of the developed world has slowly growing or even contracting populations, poorer countries (south asia and sub-saharan africa particularly) have rapidly growing populations. Not only that, but these countries (such as Pakistan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia) expect 2 or 3 fold increase in population by 2050. So population control is the first big thing. The other is moving past oil. He suggests several well-known alternatives (he seems particularly partial to wind power) to get away from polluters.

The book was written in 2005. Oil at that time was about $50 a barrel, which was historically on the high side. He notes that oil production is likely to decline. With oil at about $125 today, he seems downright prescient. One would think this would prompt our leaders to say "wow, I guess oil is going to run out, maybe we should push to develop other sources of energy". But alas, the solutions are a gas-tax holiday (thank you senators McCain and Clinton, this will surely wean us off our unquenchable thirst) and Bush's idea, to drill the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. You'd think that, at this point, with glaciers disappearing and Greenland tottering we'd see some better idea than a gas tax holiday. I mean come on, the information is all out there.

Anyhow, this book really made me think and consider what I might do. Considering I live in one of the worst offenders in terms of unsustainable cities (in Atlanta, transportation planning means no planning at all), I guess there is a lot to do.

So, please read this. And when you are done, pass it on to someone else.

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