EPIBuilding a Sustainable Future
Lester R. Brown

Summary Presentation for Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

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PB4 PowerpointUpdates for Plan B 4.0 Slideshow Presentation

The Challenges: Food Insecurity and Climate Change

Some trends are worrying:

  • As levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide continue to increase, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that Earth’s average temperature will rise 1.1-6.4˚C during this century.
  • Our current trajectory is already outpacing these projections.
  • For every 1˚C rise in temperature above the norm, yields of wheat, rice, and corn drop 10 percent.
  • The glaciers feeding rivers like the Yellow, Yangtze, Ganges, and Indus, which provide critical irrigation water, are disappearing at accelerating rates.
  • The United States has been converting more and more corn into fuel for cars; yet the grain needed to fill an SUV’s 25 gallon tank once with ethanol could feed one person for an entire year.
  • World grain and soybean prices tripled from mid-2006 to mid-2008, causing riots and unrest in dozens of countries.
  • More than 1 billion people in the world are suffering from hunger.
  • In an effort to ensure their own food security, some affluent food importing countries, such as Saudi Arabia, China, and South Korea, have begun buying or leasing land abroad to grow their own food.
  • It was food shortages that led to the collapse of several ancient civilizations.

The Response: Plan B
Plan B 4.0 Overview
We have the tools to reverse these negative trends and can choose to stabilize climate, eradicate poverty, restore the earth’s natural systems, and check unsustainable population growth. Some bright spots include:

  • The sunlight hitting the earth in 1 hour could power global economy for 1 year.
  • The wind potential in North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas alone could satisfy U.S. energy needs.
  • A worldwide switch to highly-efficient lighting would cut electricity use 12%, equivalent to closing 705 coal-fired power plants.
  • Denmark already gets more than 20% of its electricity from wind and is aiming for 50%.
  • China’s 27 million rooftop solar water heaters harness energy equal to the output of 49 coal-fired power plants.
  • In Germany a systematic shift of taxes from labor to energy reduced global warming emissions and created 250,000 jobs.
  • Iran has slowed its population growth from one of the fastest rates in the world through national literacy, health, and family planning programs.
  • By spending just 1/8 of the world’s current military budget, we could meet the Plan B goals for basic social improvements and restoring the earth.

These facts, and more, are featured in this guided tour through the Plan B blueprint to move the world onto a sustainable path. Based on Lester Brown’s latest book, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, the presentation lays out the threats facing our civilization, including food insecurity and climate change, and presents the Plan B proposals for solving them.

Use the slides to gain a basic understanding of Plan B, to anchor a lesson in the classroom, or to spread the word within your community on why and how we need to mobilize to save civilization.  You are welcome to modify it to suit your needs. It is designed to be shared, so feel free to pass along the link to others who might be interested. We ask only that you appropriately credit EPI and the photographers, notably Yann Arthus-Bertrand, eminent French photographer and friend of EPI, whose works appear within.

If you find this tool useful, please let us know how you are using it in your community, classroom, or congregation by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. We may add your example to our ever-growing list of the many ways folks around the world are spreading the Plan B vision.

Further instructions:

To view the presentation you will need Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer (click here to download).
To both view and modify slides you will need the full Microsoft PowerPoint program (click here).
To view the PDF version you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (click here).
To advance slides, press the right arrow key or Enter on your keyboard or click the left mouse button when the cursor is on the screen. To exit the slideshow, press Esc.       


Find out more in Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization or see the complete datasets.

Released November 12, 2009