Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday's green books series: 'Plan C' by Pat Murphy

Think for a minute about our energy problems. What do you do when Plan A (business as usual - using dirty fossil fuels) is destructive and the implementation of Plan B (maintaining consumption levels while switching to renewable energy sources) is questionable. How about Plan C? That's the offer of our book today on our blog's green books series.

Our book for today is:

Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change

Author: Pat Murphy

Pat Murphy is the executive director of The Community Solution. He co-wrote and co-produced the award-winning documentary The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, has initiated four major Peak Oil conferences and has given numerous presentations and workshops on the subject. He has extensive construction experience and developed low energy buildings during the nation's first oil crisis.

New Society Publishers

Published on: June 1, 2008

What it is about (from the
publisher's website):
Concerns over climate change and energy depletion are increasing exponentially. Mainstream solutions still assume a panacea that will cure our climate ills without requiring any serious modification to our way of life.

Plan C explores the risks inherent in trying to continue our energy-intensive lifestyle. Using dirtier fossil fuels (Plan A) or switching to renewable energy sources (Plan B) allows people to remain complacent in the face of potential global catastrophe. Dramatic lifestyle change is the only way to begin to create a sustainable, equitable world.

The converging crises of Peak Oil, climate change, and increasing inequity are presented in a clear, concise manner, as are the twin solutions of community (where cooperation replaces competition) and curtailment (deliberately reducing consumption of consumer goods). Plan C shows how each person's individual choices can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. It offers specific strategies in the areas of food, transportation, and housing. One chapter analyzes the decimation of the Cuban economy when the USSR stopped oil exports in 1990 and provides an inspiring vision for a low-energy way of living.

Plan C is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in living a lower-energy, saner, and more sustainable lifestyle.

Why you should get it:
1. Even if you don't agree with Murpy's analysis or recommendations for actions, it's always beneficial to hear another opinion that doubt Plan B, which so many believe that is the (only) cure to our energy problems. Murphy also might be wrong about his estimate the plans A & B will lead us directly to plan D (Dieoff), but he might be right.. so it's definitely worthwhile to listen and consider the plan he's presenting.

2. What if technology is not the solution? Murphy talks about the strong belief in technology which is like a religious faith. He points out that both two major plans – A & B count on technology. But at the same time energy related developments are not as impressive as technological developments in other areas, so maybe we shouldn't put all the eggs in one basket of technology?

3. Plan C makes sense in many ways (small is beautiful, conserving, sharing, community solutions, etc.), and even though some people might find it extreme and intimidating because of the changes it requires in their lifestyle, it shouldn't be taken lightly. The idea eventually is to get the human race back sustainably on the track and any plan that has a good chance to do it should be taken into consideration, including Plan C.

What others say about the book:
"Here's a powerful and persuasive glimpse of the future. You may not agree with every detail and recommendation, but the overriding message is incredibly important: Cheap fossil fuel has made us the first humans with no practical need of neighbors. That has to change, for reasons ecological but also psychological. The world on the other side of cheap oil may be a little less comfortable than the one we grew up in, but it may also be much sweeter" Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy; co-founder

"In Plan C, Pat Murphy has not only shown us the life we should lead - he has shown us the life we must lead - if we are to survive on this planet" Adam Corson-Finnerty, author of World Citizen: Action for Global Justice.

Want to learn more on Pat Murphy's ideas? check out this talk he gave on the subject of 'Beyond Sustainability: Surviving Oil Peak". The video here is the first part and below you will find links to the other parts.

Part 2 -

Part 3 -

Part 4 -

If you're looking for other interesting green books, you are invited to check out our
green books page on our website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: plant a tree for every book you read!