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There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  357 ratings  ·  43 reviews
We all know deep down that these are the 'make or break' years for humanity and the planet and that we cannot flee to another world: but what can any of us really do about it? There Is No Planet B has many of the answers, laid out in an accessible and entertaining way, and filled with astonishing statistics and analysis. Framed around the key fascinating questions, it ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published February 28th 2019 by Cambridge University Press
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  357 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Brian Clegg
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's a real mix of material in this environmental guide from Mike Berners-Lee (let's get this out of the way: brother of the better-known Tim). Some of it presents scientific information in a superb fashion, really getting the point across, while other parts feel more like a personal blog post. Bill McKibben, the American environmentalist quoted on the cover, is certainly correct in describing this as a 'compendium', though when he calls the book 'massively entertaining', my immediate thought ...more
The Cats’ Mother
Disappointingly, this “handbook” on the world’s most important issue, bar none, saving the planet, has left me no better educated and really quite irritated by the preachy tone and naive, going on delusional, view of humanity of the author. If these are the answers, we are doomed. I’ve always been pretty green - I reduce, reuse, recycle, spend thoughtfully, abhor waste, and worry about climate change. Like most, I could do more, and was looking for realistic ideas, but didn’t find much here.

David Wineberg
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
What separates There is no Planet B from other climate change books is the way Mike Berners-Lee looks at the numbers. Instead of boring readers with billions of tons of various nefarious elements, chemicals, and compounds, he has transformed them into calories, something most can grasp.

The world produces 5940 calories in plant based food - per day per person. Humans need to consume 2300. So there’s lots to go round. But. 1740 go to livestock, plus another 3810 they pick up in non-crops like
Joseph Spuckler
There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years by Mike Berners-Lee is a critical look at the demands on the environment made by man and humanity's growing energy demands. Berners-Lee is a leading expert in carbon footprinting. He is the director, and principal consultant at Small World Consulting and author of How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything.

Berners-Lee gives a very accurate look at the demands humanity puts on the environment and clears up several myths and
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eco
There Is No Planet B is an excellent climate change call to action reference guide. It is organized around a “there are no dumb questions” structure, and it offers both a lot of admirable number crunching and what often struck me as refreshingly frank answers. On overpopulation, for example, Berners-Lee notes that if people have no children but spend money they might otherwise have spent on raising kids on jet setting around the globe, the planet does not win. He also admirably focuses on ...more
Curious Reader
Dec 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, arc
Whatever the stuff in the book, its very serious and totally correct.
But the way of putting it was not up to the mark.

I understand the seriousness of the subject. Climate warming. It’s something we should be thinking. The question answer pattern in the book was great. Just that I wish it was a little more interestingly written. Already some people runaway when subjects like this come and if it is written in a dull way then these idiots will keep ignoring it.
When the question
Michael Hayes
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book clearly and concisely lays out the problems stemming from anthropogenic climate change, and the steps we humans should take (even though we never will, in my opinion) to mitigate its worst effects in the future. This should be read by all the world's leaders. I know that they won't read this, but they should.

Ah, well. Human civilization is fun while it lasts. Enjoy it for as long as you can.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books
This is the best book about thriving through the next few decades that I have yet encountered. I have been boring and frightening my friends and neighbors for 30 years now, raving about the coming climate apocalypse and scolding them for their energy wastefulness, and finally, I have been given permission!
Mike Berners-Lee uses a Q&A format to approach the incredibly broad front of the problem -- not just global warming, but ocean acidification, sea-level rise, social injustice, unequal
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is an interesting mixture of facts, figures, graphs and prognoses about climate change and our planet, with a bit of zen philosophy thrown in. I can see why some reviewers say that the author is naive and the stuff about 21st century thinking skills, intrinsic values and a global covenant (sorry, I do not see that happening) came across a tad soft at first. Fascinating info about the effects of climate change and renewable energy sources being unevenly spread among countries...sort of ...more
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mike Berners-Lee has written a book —There is no Planet B —about Climate Change that lays out the problems of human impact on the earth and its upcoming issues and what WE as individuals, government and businesses can do to slow down and make our impact on the earth more friendly for our children, grandchildren and beyond. This is a blueprint that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez should’ve borrowed from and turned to as a realistic plan for narrowing the industrial footprint. Not just what she thinks should be ...more
Stuart Champion
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, thorough, and essential
An Te
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
An accessible and engaging take on the facts and some of the actions we can take to stem the tide on what would be the end of the world! Not an easy genre to pull off, I must say. Mike is compelling and frank throughout. Though I could see that there are many ways in which someone could swing with this evidence (exempting the climate deniers!), Mike is open about his values and his emphasis upon truth and axiological positions. I'm glad he has been and is aware that this evidence can lead to ...more
Jamie Moesser
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
"I think we can each have far more impact than most people assume but we need to get a lot smarter at understanding which kinds of things make a difference and which don't." This statement, made near the beginning of "There Is No Planet B," tidily encapsulates not only the reason for this book's existence, but also my feelings on so many issues and challenges of our day. Bringing the very big issue of climate change into the limited laps of everyday people, it is, in many ways, an amazing ...more
I've previously read another of Mike Berners-Lee's books - The Burning Question - and really like his impassioned writing style and the obvious fervour he feels on this subject. It prevents his work reading like a dry academic paper and highlights how pressing this issue is. I understand it's not to everyone's taste, but with how huge of an issue global climate change is, yes, he is going to sound a little lecturing. We don't have time to carefully take people's hands and guide them to ...more
Jodie Angold
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book with the impression it would be quite a heavy or technical read that would require a lot of concentration. I was willing to take on such a challenge, however I quickly discovered my assumptions were quite incorrect.

Whilst there is a lot of information contained in the book, it is written in an incredibly accessible order, made up of bite sized chunks. For every topic, a brief outline of the key issues is followed by a couple of striking examples and a research backed
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Despite the importance of climate literacy, so many of us still find it difficult to get to grips with how to analyse and discuss the climate and climate change. Mike Berners-Lee's real contribution with "There Is No Planet B" is in providing an accessible, easy-to-follow introduction which provides a strong framework for readers.

The early chapters explaining the journey of food, calories and protein and where our energy comes from and what it goes into are very interesting. But where the book
Carlos Martinez
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: environment
The first two-thirds or so of 'There Is No Planet B' is just brilliant. Sensible, science-based, humane and pragmatic answers to a series of fascinating questions. Berners-Lee's analysis of the food system is particularly good, and puts the book in the 'must-read' category.

The last few chapters get a bit too fluffy, proposing big changes to our global values system, without any serious attempt to understand what this is and why changing it is so difficult. We end up with an approach whereby
Luke Hoare
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
The overwhelming message of the book is one of action. I'm fully behind this. We really need to act and do what we can to save the planet. This book highlights the urgency of action.

However, I read/ have read journals, articles, books and listen to interviews and podcasts on many of the subjects discussed, as a result, I am aware that many of the conclusions the author draws flawed or spun to fit a bias - or just interpreted some of the data too directly without factoring things in like
Karen Revel-Chion
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an important book covering the most vital issue of the day, climate change.
It covers clear, scientific facts and offers up a number of ‘things we can do to help’, which is empowering to a degree, especially when looking at ‘trickledown’.

However, many of the ideas thrown out fill me with despair. In particular the suggestion that the world must ‘leave all remaining fossil fuel in the ground’.
How on earth are we going to achieve that when the USA as well as the most unstable economies in
Isabel Losada
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has a great format as the entire book is in a question and answer structure so it makes it easy to look thinks up. However it’s full of facts, figures and statistics. If you have a mathematical brain and fully comprehend the significance of statistics then this is a brilliant book for you. If furthermore you can retain the figures then this book will arm you with enough information to convince anyone of the severity of the crisis. I listened to Mike reading his own book and he comes ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Whilst providing some useful about the environment, the book never felt like it was building an overarching argument or guiding the reader with a clear narrative. The book covers a wide breadth. I fully subscribe to the idea that environmental progress is interrelated with other topics (such as politics, economics and psychology), yet the link between these areas was never clearly made. Instead, the book felt like a scattergun. Chapters did not build on one another, and strayed onto unrelated ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Engaging and informative without being overly patronizing. I found this a readable overview of the challenges facing the world in relation to Climate Change (among other concerns).
The book is clearly laid out and written in an easy to read style.
The messages to be more conscious in what we consume - food, media etc is something I wholeheartedly agree with. As is the idea if having more empathy towards, and understanding of others around the globe.
Tom Calvard
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Comprehensive interdisciplinary introduction to environmental and global issues. Something to recommend to family, friends and children to raise awareness. I'm not especially optimistic about humanity making the progress that is needed, but the author is very candid and genuine in considering alternatives, urgency, and necessity of changes involved. Lots of accessible references and appendices and very scientifically principled and evidence-based approach.
I Read, Therefore I Blog
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mike Berners-Lee is Professor at Lancaster University’s Institute for Social Futures and in this informative, thought-provoking but depressing book (that at times gets too caught up in the numbers and analogies), he sets out some of the facts and figures relating to climate change (which he expands to look at food supply, biodiversity and plastic use) to give the reader ideas for how to reduce the damage they do to the planet.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A big-picture, FAQ-style, practical handbook on key challenges facing the world. Ideally, politicians would be quizzed on topics from this book in their election campaigns. In practice, everyone should be familiar with the issues described in the book so that we can become more critical, responsible, and caring citizens, consumers, and voters; all playing for Team Planet A together.
Michael Saunders
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think this is a comprehensive review of CC and the issues facing us if we’re to keep warming below 1.5c. Lots of facts and comparisons that puts the challenges into perspective and addresses the key factors that we as a global community need to consider and act upon to avert disaster. An informative and interesting read with positive suggestions on what actions we can take to contribute.
Ashley Barratt
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book: I recommend it without reservation to those who wish to gain a understanding the science and politics of Climate Change.

The book is structured to be easily accessible and can be used as a resource sources. That said it is wonderfully written for a beginner audience.

Everyone should read this book. Recommended.
Gyant T
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Conscious decisions. Better choices. Teaching and learning collaboratively and doing the best we can. This book is a wake up call and proves that we can all do our part. The consequences are not good.
Val  Nefyodova
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved the 'edgy' and slightly passive-aggressive tone in some places :-)
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent mix of facts and explanations that you need to understand your actions and impact and plan accordingly. My favourite book of 2019. Recommending and giving this book to everyone I know.
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