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Book Roundup Wednesday: Solutions for Saving the Planet

Posted Mar 24 2010 12:16pm

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week, we're recommending books that offer solutions for saving the planet.

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis (by Al Gore, $27, Rodale, Nov. 2009): This sequel to An Inconvenient Truth is based on more than 30 “Solutions Summits” that Gore has hosted since putting forth his seminal work. It states, in admirably clear and straightforward prose, the complexities of global warming and a broad array of potential solutions to avert catastrophe. The breathtaking photos tell their own frightening and inspiring story.

The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World  (by John Michael Greer, $19, New Society Publishers, Oct. 2009): Greer argues that the decline of the industrial age is already underway, leading to a demise of civilization as we know it. He envisions a post-industrial, post-nation world in which people return to the self-sufficient practices, such as organic farming and reliance on local economies, which sustained earlier generations. He sounds a hopeful note in pointing out that we can ease the transition by embracing these practices now.

If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Save the Earth (by Helen Caldicott, W.W. Norton, $17, Sept. 2009): In this revised version of her 1992 book, Caldicott, a renowned physician, describes Earth as a sick patient. Her approach is to diagnose the illness and explain treatment. According to her, capitalism gone awry lies at the heart of the problem and corporate forces need to be reined in if the planet is to recover. A thorough appendix of resources propels readers onto a course of action.

The Sustainable Network: The Accidental Answer for a Troubled Planet (by Sarah Sorensen, $30, O’Reilly, Oct. 2009): Sorensen optimistically champions "the network" — defined as any and all connections between computing devices — as a panacea for the world’s woes and explains how it can be further harnessed to promote sustainability. She highlights existing applications (video conferencing, telecommuting, digital music) and explores potential ones for measuring and reducing our carbon footprint.

Life, Money and Illusion: Living on Earth as if We Want to Stay (by Mike Nickerson, $23, New Society Publishers, Sept. 2009): The plan for fixing the planet in this revised volume is to transform the economy. Nickerson advocates for measures such as replacing the GDP with a GPI (genuine progress index), carbon trading, and monetary reform to create a society that promotes and sustains the well-being of all species.

--Wendy Becktold

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