Tuesday, December 21, 2010
A couple weeks ago, we talked about our research program at the Institute. Now I’d like to talk a bit about our outreach work. Because it will take an enormous dissemination effort to guide the global transition to a Plan B economy, we promote our work through a combination of a worldwide network of media contacts, publishers, and the Internet.
Publishing and Book Releases
Our books are the foundation for reaching a global constituency. Thus far, our books have been published in 28 languages.
Key to these translations is helping to launch them. Thus, this year Lester Brown spent the month of May and part of June launching the German, Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese editions of Plan B 4.0. During this trip, he also gave presentations in The Netherlands and Romania, where he also received an honorary degree and was elected an honorary member of the Romanian Academy of Sciences, and in Denver where he received the Hero Award from the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado. The trip was planned around an invitation to speak in Rotterdam at a conference designed around promoting investment in a Plan B economy. The sponsor is a convert to Plan B. Working with pension fund managers, he has subsequently set up three Plan B investment funds and is working on others.
Lester also launched the Spanish edition in Bogotá, Colombia, a trip that included a stop in Mexico City where he gave a standing-room-only presentation to 1,200 plus.
Working closely with the world's major news organizations, we have generated over 25,000 news clips since we began in 2001. Our researchers have given nearly 500 interviews for radio and television, including national and international networks such as ABC, the BBC World Service, Voice of America, CNN International, and Al Jazeera, CCTV, NHK TV.
Our policy of free access to our research also means that it is being posted on more and more websites and blogs.
On our EPI in the News page, you can find a number of articles, podcasts, and videos featuring our work and researchers weighing in on the issues. The following are just a few selections.
* a discussion between Lester Brown and Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute
* Lester’s July talk at the Citizens Climate Lobby National Conference
* an interview with Lester on peak water consumption
* an interview with Lester on Japan’s Green TV
* Janet Larsen’s National Journal blog on Plan B
* an interview with Lester by Christina Larson in Foreign Policy
* Lester talking with Tom Weiss (Ride for Renewables) on the importance of political action
The most exciting film this year was the completion of Plan B, the documentary by Marilyn and Hal Weiner, Emmy award-winning producers. An educational edition of this 83-minute film is available. It will also be aired in the United States on PBS on March 30, 2011. Here’s a clip from the film.
Other outstanding documentary films in which Lester was a leading participant included Climate Refugees, produced by Michael Nash, which received a lot of attention at the Sundance Festival, and Dirty Oil, a Babelgum production about the tar sands in Alberta, Canada.
As any of you who have spent time in our website can testify, we have a huge amount of meticulously researched material available for free. With every new book, we post the data that backs up every fact. We are in the process of doing this now for World on the Edge. You can expect to see the data uploaded and ready for searching on January 5 when the book is released. We will also have the book posted for downloading.
Interested in an electronic version for your e-reader? That’s available, too. Our publisher W.W. Norton has made it available through iBookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Sony.
People in Action
The Institute’s goal is to generate public awareness and support for Plan B. That goal is being picked up by people around the world and implemented in a number of ways. We invite you to read about them on our People in Action page.
You can help us keep this flow of important research moving with a tax-deductible donation.
Meanwhile, stay tuned ... there's a lot to look forward to in 2011!
Reah Janise Kauffman
Monday, December 06, 2010
In December, we take time to reflect on the year soon to pass. In this and a subsequent blog, I’d like to give you a sense of what we’ve accomplished this year.
Since its inception, Earth Policy Institute has worked to provide a roadmap—Plan B—for saving civilization. We continue to refine Plan B and to support it with the latest scientific data. Human behavior changes either in response to new information or new experience. We disseminate new information through various publications to guide the process of change. Our goal is to generate visibility and to build public support for global action to stabilize climate, stabilize population, and rebuild the economy’s natural support systems.
The Research Agenda
For about half of the year, our research team was consumed with the questions of how much time we have left before our global civilization unravels and how we save civilization. These questions led to a massive research effort fueling a new book, World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse by Lester Brown, which went to our publishers in late October for release in early January 2011.
The team also maintained a flow of Plan B Updates, Eco-Economy Indicators, Book Bytes, and Data Highlights. Two of the Plan B Updates were released at press teleconferences. The first, released in January, was on how the U.S. car fleet shrank by four million vehicles in 2009. Could America’s love affair with the automobile be coming to an end? Lester noted several reasons for this decline, including market saturation, ongoing urbanization, economic uncertainty, oil insecurity, the prospect of higher gasoline prices, the rising costs of traffic congestion, mounting concerns about climate change, and the declining interest in cars among young people who have grown up in cities. We were the first to note this shift, which led to a large number of global media reports.
The second Update was looking at how out of sync the natural world has become due to climate change. Janet Larsen noted that with climate change springtime is arriving earlier and altering the timing of key life-cycle events. Because species are adjusting at different rates, this is disrupting the dance that connects predator and prey, butterfly and blossom, fish and phytoplankton, and the entire web of life.
We responded to the Russian heat wave and fires with an Update in early August entitled “Rising Temperatures Raise Food Prices: Heat, Drought, and a Failed Harvest in Russia.” About 30 reporters were on the teleconference call, generating extensive media coverage including Time, OneWorld, The San Francisco Chronicle, Climate Progress, The Energy Bulletin, TreeHugger, The Moscow Times, Politico, Voice of America, and UPI. It also led to an AP feature in October on the global food situation.
Our research team also released Eco-Economy Indicators on global temperature (the past decade was the hottest on record, wind power (a record year for cumulative installed wind power capacity, and carbon emissions (an overall drop, even though emissions in China grew by nearly 9 percent.
The seven Data Highlights released thus far in 2010 sometimes garnered more press coverage than an Update or Indicator. For instance, the data highlight released on January 21, “U.S. Feeds One Quarter of its Grain to Cars While Hunger is on the Rise,” was reported on in over 75 online news sources. These highlights draw attention to the wealth of data available on the Institute’s website. Along this line, the team updated the popular PowerPoint Plan B presentation with Plan B 4.0 data and information.
The research team also released 26 Book Bytes gleaned from Plan B 4.0. These return considerable feedback and comments from readers and are reposted on websites as well as reprinted in magazines.
We are now prioritizing our research for 2011. You can help us keep this flow of important research moving with a tax-deductible donation.
Meanwhile, stay tuned!
Reah Janise Kauffman
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