For Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization book group: do the assigned readings before you come to class on the date listed; enter your reading homework for these three questions here (remember to enter useful comments on your topic page, as well).

2/28 3/14 3/28 4/11 4/25
Preface, Ch 1 & 2 (p. 51) Ch 3 & 4 (p. 106) Ch 5 & 6 (p. 162) and post responses for Ch1-6 Ch 7 & 8 (p. 211) Ch 9 & 10 (p. 266) and post responses for Ch 7-10
  1. Explain how one idea in the reading relates to other topics already covered in class or something you learned elsewhere (another class or life experience).
  2. List what you think are the three to five most important points made in the reading.
  3. Write a question to provoke discussion among others who read the same passage.

6 Responses to “Plan B 4.0

  1. yuanam Says:

    Well, I did it. I finished Plan B. And you know what, it wasn’t that bad. What changed my mind? In the second half of the book, it explains how communities and countries are already harnessing massive amounts of earth’s renewable energy to power houses and energy economies. That itself was nice to hear for a change. After all the gloom, there is hope. Governments are making the switch to renewable resources, cities are being built for people and not cars, and we can restore our earth. The last chapter is obliviously answering the question that everyone asks while reading this book. Can we make all the necessary changes before it’s too late? The answer is yes, but major changes would have to happen now. Plan B is full of facts and data, and I look forward to reading it a second time to get all of my facts right.

  2. You might see if you can watch this tonight:

    Earth Policy Institute

    You’ve read the books, now watch the film version!

    Based on Lester Brown’s Plan B book series, this 90-minute film—Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization—airing on PBS Wednesday, March 30 in the United States (see listings for time and additional dates in your area), follows Lester as he speaks in Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, New Delhi, Rome, Istanbul, Ankara, and Washington, DC, and visits with world leaders to discuss ways to respond to the challenges of climate change.
    Journey to Planet Earth

    The film begins with a dramatic portrayal of a world where there is a mounting tide of public concern about melting glaciers and sea level rise and a growing sense that we need to change course in how we react to emerging economic and social pressures. It also spotlights a world where ocean resources are becoming scarce, croplands are eroding, and harvests are shrinking.

    But what makes Plan B significant and timely is that it provides hopeful solutions—a roadmap to eradicate poverty, stabilize populations and protect and restore our planet’s fisheries, forests, aquifers, soils, grasslands, and biological diversity.

    Along with Lester Brown, you will hear from notable scholars and scientists including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and former Governor and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.

    Narrated by Matt Damon, well-known for his work raising environmental awareness, and produced by Emmy-Award winning filmmakers Marilyn and Hal Weiner, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the gravity of environmental decline and the solutions that can change the course for civilization.

    See a clip.
    You can also order performance copies of the film (for classroom and conference viewing), which also includes an Educator’s Guide.

    Apologies to our friends living outside of the United States. If you would like copies of the film, you can order them by writing to:

    SCETV Marketing
    1101 George Rogers Blvd.
    Columbia, SC 29201 USA
    Telephone: +803.737.3200
    Email: (available March 30, 2011)

    The DVD of Plan B costs $29.95 plus shipping and handling.

    1. More news from Earth Policy Institute



      For the month of April only, you can watch a streaming edition of the film Plan B on the PBS website. So if you missed the initial release for whatever reason, here is your opportunity to watch it at your leisure.

  3. yuanam Says:

    The first few chapters were discouraging and dry. It was problem after problem supported by facts and numbers. The issues listed felt way over my head, like anything that I could do to help the situation wouldn’t be enough. Everything was on a larger scale; reducing carbon emissions worldwide, stabilizing climate, food security for failing states, falling water tables, overpopulation and poverty, and the struggle of economic dependence on fossil fuels. Plan B is a full, complex solution to these global problems. It tells us what needs to be done before 2050, but reading the book, it gives off the impression that we’re running out of time. It does list some solutions that an individual can take, but is it enough? If everyday decisions were made with the goal of being energy efficient in mind, is that enough to prevent the major problems that we see in the future?

  4. boililikoi Says:

    I had a hard time with this book. Although interesting, it was, in many ways, too distant. So many of the problems described in the first four chapters were massive, complex, and far from my small self that reading it made me feel powerless. I looked forward to the following chapters, but have so far felt similarly about them. The solutions feel very much out of my control, let alone spectrum of influence. Although I appreciate the massive amount of work that went into this book–it feels a bit mechanical for me, personally.

    Although I have found the book interesting thus far, I was caught by the part about waste. Brown talks about how we are a “throw-away” economy. He sites nature as a reference as to how having no feedback loop is not only a bad idea–but unnatural. We talked a little bit about that in class, but I don’t think it stuck me how counter-intuitive a throw-away economy is. An illogical building structure, yes. But backlash against what should be innate knowledge? That is an interesting thought.

    The main points thus far:
    -We are responsible for destroying our environment
    -This has happened in an incredibly short increment of time.
    -We have the capabilities to change.
    -This require a complete shift in consciousness to accomplish.
    -And, would need to be done at war-time speed.

    What are some actions we, as relatively powerless individuals, can take?

  5. dpjollygreen Says:

    I had a hard time with Chapters 1-4. A lot of doom and gloom that I already knew, some I didn’t so it got stacked into the proverbial heep.

    One portion I read about was the lowering of the water tables. I’ve noticed this in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Watsonville but I do have to admit that some of my memories of going to this river/creek as a child could have been during the rainy season.

    Anyway, it gets me thinking about what causes the water to come up where it does to begin with.

    Have you ever walked to the beginning of one to see what’s there?

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