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Quick Review: Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

Read it just to pick something from the Library’s poor environmental section, but the timing’s somewhat interesting, since the Plan’s target was 2020 and you can see how the situation worsened because very little was done. Many problems are correctly identified and in some ways we’re even worse off than anticipated. I particularly liked the focus on population, which is repeatedly listed in connection and leading to most other issues, which can’t be solved without first solving this one. And quite a number of the proposed solutions are good, and quite clearly necessary.
They’re far from sufficient, however, tending to be incremental reforms despite stressing the need for a complete overhaul. Worse, instead of aiming to dismantle and replace capitalism, many proposals are based on the market, which can’t lead to anywhere near enough advances towards the goals and would crush the poor. After all, instead of the predicted collapse leading to a fundamental shift, the economic crisis that followed shortly after publication resulted in even more efforts and resources put into preserving the status quo, which is happening again now. In addition, it’s entirely anthropocentric, with hardly a thought spared for nature and other species in themselves, the problems of “green” development being basically ignored in a race to maximize output. And if the energy chapter would be an example of that, the food one is even worse, largely promoting even more intensive, industrial agriculture. But what bothered me the most was that the population problem was presented as almost exclusively affecting poor countries and being solvable through those nice, voluntary measures that are necessary but nowhere near sufficient, when the even greater immediate need is to stop the better off from having children. Worse, the stated goal was stabilization, reduction and growth being presented as equally unsustainable, which is ludicrous on a terribly overpopulated world.
Otherwise, it’s a hard read, mostly facts and data, and the Romanian translation I read seemed rushed, with a number of typos, some strange wording and no consistency regarding measurement units. The notes were left entirely in English, however, including the chapter names.

Rating: 3/5

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