EPIBuilding a Sustainable Future
People in Action: Spreading the Plan B Vision
October 01, 2008

Each year, Earth Policy Institute receives hundreds of letters and e-mails from people who are inspired by our work and are eager to help in building a sustainable future. They have reached out to their communities, co-workers and peers, religious groups, and elected officials to outline the urgency of addressing the mounting pressures on our global environment.

To help spread our vision, people have joined our Plan B, Plan B 2.0, and Plan B 3.0 teams and have handed out thousands of copies of Earth Policy Institute’s books to friends, family members, and local leaders to inform them of the problems we face as a global community and what we must do to save our failing civilization. The teams (view here) are captained by Ted Turner who distributed 5,500 copies of Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization to the U.S. Congress, heads of state, Fortune 500 CEOs, the world’s billionaires, the European Parliament, and others.

Like Earth Policy Institute President Lester Brown says, “Saving civilization is not a spectator sport.” The level of dedication we have seen from people proves this. Earth Policy Institute would like to highlight some of the people from around the world who have mobilized to encourage political, environmental, and social change. For more examples.

  • The Committee for a Secure Green Future in Massachusetts has successfully put a Plan B initiative on its November 2008 ballot. Constituents in 11 districts will vote their support for legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts 80 percent by 2020, to phase out tax incentives for energy-intensive projects, and to promote job expansion for local businesses and co-ops involved in sustainable practices. Though the local ballot questions are non-binding, the committee aims to raise public and political awareness on the urgency of cutting CO2 emissions and raising energy efficiency in Massachusetts in hopes to continue discussion and action on these issues. Learn more at www.masschc.org/Secure_Green_Future.php.
  • After hearing Lester Brown address the European Parliament in March 2008, Ilke Pedersen-Beyst immediately organized an information session on green issues for expatriates in Brussels.  The meeting became a call to action and resulted in a volunteer organization called Sunbeams. Sunbeams circulates news and information on the environment throughout the expatriate community. In October, Sunbeams will distribute copies of Earth Policy Institute’s “Time for Plan B: Cutting Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2020” at a welcome fair for expatriates. Visit www.greenexpats.be.
  • After hearing a lecture by Lester Brown, Jay Sehgal, Executive Director of the The Sehgal Foundation, was inspired to start an initiative to green the Aravalli Hills in northern India, which were denuded by deforestation and mining. The foundation has planted thousands of trees and native plants to reforest the desertified region. Additionally, the foundation has built water storage dams to prevent water runoff from the hills.  The project’s success has served as a model to further increase awareness of water management in India. Learn more about other projects at www.smsfoundation.org.
  • The Energy + Environment Foundation, dedicated to providing free course materials for high schools and universities on global environmental and energy challenges, is using materials derived from Plan B 3.0 in its OpenCourseWare curriculum. The initiative is a collaborative effort involving individuals from academic institutions, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. Visit http://eeocw.org to view curriculum materials.
  • C. Freeman Allen submitted a copy of “Time for Plan B: Cutting Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2020” to the California Air Resources Board following solicitation for public comment on its plan for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. This is the first step toward achieving Governor Schwarzenegger’s goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. She is also working with the League of Women Voters to encourage support of Plan B and is active in developing a Sustainable Claremont Plan.
  • Roger Ebbage, Director of the Lane Community College Energy Management Program in Eugene, Oregon, made Plan B 3.0 required reading for all new program students and purchased copies of the book for every student.
  • Lars and Doris Almström of Sweden translated Plan B 2.0 into Swedish and posted it on their website designed to make this “labor of love” publicly available. After completing this translation, they immediately began translating Plan B 3.0—and found an enthusiastic publisher, Addera Förlag AB. The book had a spectacular release in September 2008 and is available for free downloading at www.planb3.se. They and the publisher are developing a Swedish Plan B 3.0 Team. The Almströms are now turning their attention to translating Earth Policy Institute’s Updates and Indicators.
  • The “What You and I Can Do” section in Plan B 2.0 struck home with Pierre-Yves Longaretti, head of the French astrophysics research lab in Grenoble. In partnership with Philippe Vieille, who heads a biotech company, they translated the book into French and contracted with Calmann-Lévy to publish it. The launch of the book was such a success that the day of the book’s release, the publisher ordered a second printing for a total of 25,000 copies. Not satisfied with simply publishing a book, they established Alternative Planétaire, an NGO dedicated to disseminating Earth Policy Institute’s Updates in French, providing a Plan B tailored specifically for France, and moving businesses into becoming carbon neutral. See www.alternativeplanetaire.com.

Are you involved in disseminating the Plan B vision? We'd love to hear from you. Please write us at epi@earthpolicy.org and tell us your story.