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

MrEnergy67, November 5, 2008

This book should probably be titled, "A REALLY Inconvenient Truth." Most Americans won't be too excited to hear that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must reduce our overall consumption of all resources in the 80-90% range. The author does an excellent job detailing how we got here, where we're likely to go if we stay on our current track, and how we can choose a different path leading to a better future. However, this shift will require great courage and leadership and will involve the dreaded S-word (Sacrifice). Look what happened the last time a leader uttered that word (James Carter).

In addition, it is clear that current efforts to "green" our economy won't make much of a difference, although they may make us feel better in the mean time. Green comsumption is only incrementally better than traditional consumption, and what we need is FAR LESS consumption. Of course, this doesn't fit into our generally accepted thinking of "growth is good" and anything else is socialism or worse. The neo-liberal economic model is at the heart of our problem, and painting the toenails of the beast and changing it's tee shirt won't make much of a difference in the end.

Our problem is much like that of the alcoholic - total denial that anything's wrong. Change happens one of two ways by either intervention or hitting rock bottom. We may cause irreparable harm if we pull the rip cord 10 feet before hitting ground but we may still have time but we're approaching ground quickly!

Nothing short of a complete transformation of our economic system, our mindset, our consumption patterns and overall population will make a significant impact. It's a pretty simple formula...multiply the number of people (growing every day) times the amount they consume (also growing) to arrive at total ecological impact (growing exponentially). The numbers don't lie, and anything short of a massive cultural shift will likely lead to an unhappy ending involving war, starvation and death as population overshoots our ability of a waning resource base to support it. Sounds fun, huh? Hey, grandkids. We love you, but are sorry to report that we mortgaged your future and left you a debt of pollution and despair. Sorry about that. Oh, hold on a second...my iPhone is ringing.

The author does a good job clarifying how energy is categorized and differentiates between embedded energy and operating energy. Good examples include our cars and homes which are where we use most of our energy. Cars and homes take about 10% of their lifetime energy to be built (embedded) but 90% to heat/cool and fuel (operating). Even if we implement green building techniques and hybrids we are only having an impact on a small percentage of a huge (and growing) problem.

Anyone who cares one iota for the health of our planet and the future of our children should read this book. Buy copies for friends, family and send copies to your elected officials. The time to act is now!
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