or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Tell the Publisher!
Id like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble [Paperback]

Lester R Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 11.99
Price: 8.88 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
You Save: 3.11 (26%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Tuesday, 22 April? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Paperback 8.88  
Amazon.co.uk Trade-In Store
Did you know you can use your mobile to trade in your unwanted books for an Amazon.co.uk Gift Card to spend on the things you want? Visit the Books Trade-In Store for more details or check out the Trade-In Amazon Mobile App Guidelines on how to trade in using a smartphone. Learn more.
There is a newer edition of this item:
Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization 4.0 out of 5 stars (2)
Currently unavailable

Book Description

21 Oct 2003
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 US 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 economy and to stabilize population by investing heavily in health care, family planning and the education of girls in developing countries.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (21 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393325237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393325232
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14.1 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,288,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

Lester R. Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, is published in over thirty languages and has received numerous awards and honorary degrees. He lives in Washington, DC.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
As world population has doubled and as the global economy has expanded sevenfold over the last half-century, our claims on the earth have become excessive. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book 24 Jan 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is in three sections - the first part provides facts, figures, charts and tables to define the problem; the second part - Plan A - projects the future under the business as usual scenario; the third part - Plan B - is Brown's recommendations of what we must do. The problem has the following components:
- over the last 50 years world population has doubled, the global economy has expanded seven fold and our claims on the earth are excessive;
- we are cutting trees faster than they can regenerate, overgrazing rangelands, over pumping aquifers and draining rivers;
- soil erosion of cropland exceeds new soil formation;
- we take fish from the oceans faster than they can reproduce;
- we are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere faster than nature can absorb it, creating a greenhouse effect raising the earth's temperature;
- habitat destruction and climate change are destroying plant and animal species faster than new species can evolve.
Throughout history man has lived on the earth's sustainable yield but humanity's collective demands surpassed the earth's carrying capacity in 1980 and by 1999 exceeded carrying capacity by 20% creating a global bubble economy. "The sector of the economy that seems likely to unravel first is food. Eroding soils, deteriorating range lands, collapsing fisheries, falling water tables, and rising temperatures are converging to make it more difficult to expand food production fast enough to keep up with demand. In 2002, the world grain harvest of 1,807 million tons fell short of world grain consumption by 100 million tons, or 5%. This shortfall, the largest on record, marked the third consecutive year of grain deficits, dropping stocks to the lowest level in a generation.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A species out of control? 1 Mar 2004
By Dennis Littrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lester Brown recently wrote Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth in which his thesis was that "the environment was not part of the economy...but instead that the economy was part of the environment." (p. xv)
Here he presents an upbeat and positive plan for saving the world from the consequences of what he calls the planet-wide "bubble economy." His central argument is that we are about to face a food shortage of crisis proportions as our aquifers and rivers run dry. The relative price of food, which is directly dependent upon ready water supplies from underground and through the diversion of rivers, he argues, is about to skyrocket as China and other grain-hungry nations begin to import grain.
His plan B is a combination of interventions that would include environmental tax reform, that is, taxing products in terms or their true cost including pollution and the use of non-renewable resources. Thus the consequences of pollution-induced illnesses like asthma, etc. be factored into the cost of gasoline. In this way non-polluting energy sources such as windmills and solar energy cells would become cost-competitive with fossil fuels almost immediately.
The first half of the book is devoted to describing the problem, which he calls "A Civilization in Trouble." The second half is devoted to his Plan B which includes adopting "honest global accounting," stabilizing the population, and raising land productivity. He wants not only to shift taxes from the environmentally sound ways of doing business to the ecologically harmful ways, but to shift the subsidizes that many countries now give to fossil fuel producers and to fishing and logging industries to environmentally safe products and industries. He points out that it is foolhardy to subsidize the destruction of our environment as we are now doing.
Brown quotes Oystein Dahle, former Vice President of Exxon for Norway as saying: "Socialism collapsed because it did not allow the market to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the ecological truth." (p. 210)
A striking example of what Brown means by shifting taxes comes from former Harvard Economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw, who wrote: "Cutting income taxes while increasing gasoline taxes would lead to more rapid economic growth, less traffic congestion, safer roads, and reduced risk of global warming..." (p 214)
Incidentally, Brown asserts that rising temperatures adversely affect crop yields. He notes that crops are grown in many countries "at or near their thermal optimum, making them vulnerable to any rise in temperature." He cites a study by Mohan Wali at Ohio State University showing that photosynthesis increases until the temperature reaches 68 degrees F. and then plateaus until it hits 95 degrees whereupon it begin to decline, and ceases at 104 degrees. (pp. 62-63)
The problem with his solution is that, as Brown points out, the body politic, especially that of the United States, must take action to implement the changes. Unfortunately, President Bush, who represents corporate interests (as most American politicians do), will continue to call for more studies, and nothing will be done. More particularly, taxing destructive practices will only work if all (or at least a substantial majority) of the countries of the world cooperate. Polluted air, acid rain, depleted aquifers, and rivers run dry cross borders. Consequently we have a daunting task in front of us.
A crucial psychological problem is that our instincts were honed in the pre-history when the resources of forest and savanna were effectively inexhaustible, where it didn't matter how much we burned and polluted since we could just move on. Our numbers were so small relative to the land that it would renew itself as we were despoiling other lands. With six billion-plus people on the planet there are no "other lands" and there is no time for the land to renew itself. We can no longer toss our waste over our shoulders, defecate in the stream, and slash and burn.
This is just one respect in which we have to ask, are human beings as presently evolved able to cope with the modern world? The tribal mentality, with its violence toward outsiders and toward the environment, is still with us, but the tolerance of the environment for such behavior is not. The myth of the noble savage and indigenous people living in harmony with nature needs a reality check. We are savages in headsets, neither noble nor ignoble. We are indigenous people whose lands have gone the way of the Garden of Eden. We are clumsily and incompletely adjusting to a different landscape: the modern world.
The race is on. Which will come first: our adjustment to the needs of the planet or the collapse of our great civilizations? Note well it is the needs of the planet that come first. Note also that the collapse of our civilizations will usher in a period of immense pain and suffering, even for those of us sitting atop Mount Olympus, as it were, in our garden homes sheltered from the storms in our inner cities and in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
A great deal of human suffering can be averted by anticipating the consequences of globalization, of diminishing resources resulting in diminishing returns. But it is also true that a great deal of human suffering can be averted by not doing something stupid that may have unintended consequences. We must use our abilities and our knowledge to choose between the two. Lester Brown is trying to help us do that. This book is a fine introduction to the problem and to a possible solution.
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good science is not discredited by bad science 7 July 2004
By Robert P. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
An important contribution to the environmental debate. I was suprised by the critical review below that gives 1 star to Plan B and cites "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lomborg as a refutation of Brown's work. Readers of that review may not be aware that "Skeptical" has been discredited, refuted and rejected by the scientific community. Critical reviews of Lomborg's book can be found in leading science journals, including Nature, Scientific American and Science. The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty issued a decision that declared Lomborg's research "to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty," and to be "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice." (Lomborg is Danish). Readers will not be persuaded by references to junk science coming from an anti-environmentalist.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading 30 Jan 2004
By DAVID-LEONARD WILLIS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is in three sections - the first part provides facts, figures, charts and tables to define the problem; the second part - Plan A - projects the future under the business as usual scenario; the third part - Plan B - is Brown's recommendations of what we must do. The problem has the following components:
- over the last 50 years world population has doubled, the global economy has expanded seven fold and our claims on the earth are excessive;
- we are cutting trees faster than they can regenerate, overgrazing rangelands, over pumping aquifers and draining rivers;
- soil erosion of cropland exceeds new soil formation;
- we take fish from the oceans faster than they can reproduce;
- we are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere faster than nature can absorb it, creating a greenhouse effect raising the earth's temperature;
- habitat destruction and climate change are destroying plant and animal species faster than new species can evolve.
Throughout history man has lived on the earth's sustainable yield but humanity's collective demands surpassed the earth's carrying capacity in 1980 and by 1999 exceeded carrying capacity by 20% creating a global bubble economy. "The sector of the economy that seems likely to unravel first is food. Eroding soils, deteriorating range lands, collapsing fisheries, falling water tables, and rising temperatures are converging to make it more difficult to expand food production fast enough to keep up with demand. In 2002, the world grain harvest of 1,807 million tons fell short of world grain consumption by 100 million tons, or 5%. This shortfall, the largest on record, marked the third consecutive year of grain deficits, dropping stocks to the lowest level in a generation." Trying to fill the 100 million ton shortfall, feeding an additional 70m people each year, reducing the number of under-nourished and rebuilding stocks is likely to further deplete aquifers, increase erosion and raise food prices. Farmers face two challenges - rising temperatures and falling water tables. The 16 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1980 with the three warmest in the last five years and this adversely affects grain harvests, forcing traditional grain exporting countries like Canada to reduce or cease exports. World wide 70% of water is used for agriculture, 20% by industry and 10% for residential purposes. Water mining due to governments' failing to limit pumping to sustainable yield has increased pumping costs and reduced profit margins when grain prices are at a historical low, obliging many farmers to withdraw from irrigated agriculture. Industrial demands are increasing and industry can afford to pay much more for its water than farmers. Sandra Postel in 'Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last?' details a bleak picture of what is in store for us regarding falling water tables, rivers which don't reach the sea and the impact on food production. China is such a populous country that whatever happens there impacts everyone in the world. China's deserts are expanding and the US Dust Bowl of the 1930s is being reproduced there but on a much bigger scale. China's forthcoming grain deficit will force up grain prices. "Many of the most populous countries of the world - China, India, Pakistan, Mexico, and nearly all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa - have literally been having a free ride over the past two or three decades by depleting their groundwater resources. The penalty of mismanagement of this valuable resource is now coming due and it is no exaggeration to say that the results could be catastrophic for these countries and, given their importance, for the world as a whole." Many countries are living in a food bubble economy; the question for these countries is not whether the bubble will burst, but when.
The food bubble economy is just the first of the bubbles that the author explains. If we continue with business as usual - Plan A - the troubles described will continue or worsen; the world is failing environmentally and will eventually fail economically. "In sum, no one knows exactly the extent of our excessive claims on the earth in this bubble economy. The most sophisticated effort to calculate this, the one by Mathis Wackernagel and his team, estimates that in 1999 our claims on the earth exceeded its regenerative capacity by 20%. If this overdraft is rising 1% a year as seems likely, then by 2003 it was 24%. As we consume the earth's natural capital, the earth's capacity to sustain us is decreasing. We are a species out of control, setting in motion processes we do not understand with consequences that we cannot foresee."
Einstein told us that you can't hope to get out of a problem with the same thinking that got you into the problem so we cannot expect Brown's proposed solutions to be readily accepted or popular. However, they all practical and make sense. Most proposals are familiar but few holding positions of responsibility have been willing to implement them because Plan A gains more votes and today's politicians are unlikely to be around when the leaders of tomorrow have to pick up the pieces. "Plan B is a massive mobilization to deflate the global economic bubble before it reaches the bursting point. Keeping the bubble from bursting will require an unprecedented degree of international cooperation to stabilize population, climate, water tables, and soils - and at wartime speed. Indeed, in both scale and urgency the effort required is comparable to the US mobilization during World War II."
This book is not just for environmentalists; it is of interest to every housewife who will shortly see her housekeeping money pay for less and less. This book should be required reading for everyone who hopes to be alive in a few years time.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I agree with that person, buy 10 and pass them out. 5 April 2004
By Malcolm Tramm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Wow, after reading this book, I am left speechless. I read this book in conjunction with a Native American Studies class that I took, and I have never learned more terrifying facts in my entire life. Lester Brown, although he admits that the task is too great for one book, describes bluntly the thin line our species is walking between self preservation and self destruction. He does not pull any punches in describing how the human race is pushing Earth dangerously close to its breaking point. Brown outlines the clear reality that if trends continue the demand put on the environment by humanity will overtake its carrying capacity. He makes many interesting points but he also stays true to the title of the book, not only spreading blame, of which there is plenty to spread, but also offering possible solutions to the most important of problems. I thought I was environmentally conscious before I read this book, boy was I surprised. This book brought my environmental consciousness to a whole new level. It also unfortunately made me realize that unless the rest of the world gets on the same page as Brown in a hurry, the environmental damage will be irreparable. I'll agree once again with what that other reviewer said. Read this book and buy 10 copies to hand out.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy 10 copies and give them out. 29 Dec 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Clearly gives readers a broad grasp of the major problems humanity faces AND rational solutions. A must read for everyone, especially the U.S. president and the U.S. Legislature. Its great for anyone who is concerned about the near future of of Earth and is feeling hopeless. This book gave me some hope. The language is clear, the sources are well documented, and the path of solutions offered is logical and possible.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews
ARRAY(0xa72308ac)

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback