Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble


A bold new plan for those concerned about rising temperatures, population projections, and spreading water scarcity.
Lester Brown notes that if the environmental trends of recent decades continue, the global economy will soon begin to unravel. The food sector, he believes, is the most vulnerable. Record-high temperatures and falling water tables are already taking the edge off grain harvests in some countries, including China, the world's ...

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A bold new plan for those concerned about rising temperatures, population projections, and spreading water scarcity.
Lester Brown notes that if the environmental trends of recent decades continue, the global economy will soon begin to unravel. The food sector, he believes, is the most vulnerable. Record-high temperatures and falling water tables are already taking the edge off grain harvests in some countries, including China, the world's largest grain producer.
The wake-up call will come, Brown believes, when 1.3 billion Chinese consumers with an $80 billion trade surplus start competing with Americans for U.S. grain, driving up food prices. Rising food prices could create political instability in low-income countries, disrupting global economic progress.
At that point, it will be clear that business as usual—Plan A—is not working. In Plan B, Brown outlines a World War II-type mobilization to stabilize climate by restructuring the global energy economy and to stabilize population by investing heavily in health care, family planning, and the education of girls in developing countries.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute, believes that "we can build an economy that does not destroy its natural support systems, a global community where the basic needs of all the earth's people are satisfied, and a world that will allow us to think of ourselves as civilized." Brown (Eco-Economy) backs up his argument with clear and well-reasoned text that outlines how to solve the world's severe environmental problems. According to Brown, the earth's populations are currently living in a bubble economy based on reckless consumption of natural resources. Because of water shortages, soil erosion and rising temperatures, grain production has seriously fallen off. If this situation continues, especially in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent, hunger and disease will prevail and lead to disastrous consequences for the entire world. Drawing on careful research, Brown outlines the details of Plan B, a committed global cooperative effort to raise water and land productivity, cut carbon emissions and stabilize population growth before time runs out. He provides many individual success stories, such as the Netherlands' embrace of the bicycle for transportation instead of the environmentally poisonous automobile. Since 1989, Iran has cut its spiraling population growth through education and access to contraception. In this measured plea, Brown points out that for Plan B to be adopted worldwide, it desperately needs the leadership of the U.S., as the wealthiest nation on earth, to change its focus and resources from a military presence to one that fosters a global economy that will sustain generations to come. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393325232
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/19/2003
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,447,751
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lester R. Brownis the founder of the Earth Policy and Worldwatch Institutes. He has been honored with numerous prizes, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the United Nations Environment Prize, and twenty-five honorary degrees. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

1 A Planet under Stress 3
2 Emerging Water Shortages 23
3 Eroding Soils and Shrinking Cropland 42
4 Rising Temperatures and Rising Seas 59
5 Our Socially Divided World 80
6 Plan A: Business as Usual 93
7 Raising Water Productivity 113
8 Raising Land Productivity 131
9 Cutting Carbon Emissions in Half 151
10 Responding to the Social Challenge 176
11 Plan B: Rising to the Challenge 199
Notes 223
Index 273
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2004

    Essential Guide for Green Strategy

    In 'Plan B' Lester Brown, (formerly of World Watch, now with Earth Policy Institute) lays out the big picture, the full catastrophe, as it is now unfolding. He definitively highlights the most urgent priorities: stabilization of climate and stabilization of global population. He earns the five star rating by telling us exactly HOW to do what must be done, and how much it is going to cost. I have waited a long time for the practical steps outlined here. This book makes me realize there isn't enough time for twenty years of grass roots Green Party building to get Greens elected to the Senate and the House in sufficient numbers to challenge those drafting and passing legislation that supports the interests of the people making big money in oil, coal, meat, medical pharmaceuticals, weapons manufacture, agribusiness, privately owned utilities, real estate, top corporate management, corporate law (mergers aquisitions, takeovers), top banking management, financial law, sports, the sex industry, entertainment media, and politics. Greens have to push a 'Register Green' affiliation campaign to show government leaders there is support for the massive mobilization Brown outlines in 'Plan B' to deflate the global economic bubble before it bursts, and we need to spread word of this book through every network we've got. Brown does not refer to the Green movement in the book, but the policies he urges are steps to the realization of the Green vision of a socially just, non-violent, long term sustainable, non-violent, global eco-economy. The bad news is, the global economic crisis has begun. It can't be prevented, but the extent of suffering in the US and around the world can be significantly limited if the policies recommended in this book are implemented by the United States at once. Every month's delay means real people will suffer real life and death consequences. Not only must all our nation's leaders read this book, but enough citizens must also read it to give the leaders the grass roots support to implement these survival policies over the strenuous objections of the vested interests who do not seem to realize if the world economy fails, they will have no markets. Forty nine pages of notes are chock full of facts and statistics from hundreds of authoritative sources on population, water use projections, agriculture, emissions control, disease, hydrogen fuel tech, etc. etc. The real deal, and backed by thorough, up to date research. The best.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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