Feeding the world, climate change, biodiversity, antibiotics, plastics – the list of concerns seems endless. But what is most pressing, what are the knock-on effects of our actions, and what should we do first? Do we all need to become vegetarian? How can we fly in a low-carbon world? Should we frack? How can we take control of technology? Does it all come down to population? And, given the global nature of the challenges we now face, what on Earth can any of us do? Fortunately, Mike Berners-Lee has crunched the numbers and plotted a course of action that is practical and even enjoyable. There is No Planet B maps it out in an accessible and entertaining way, filled with astonishing facts and analysis.
Mike Berners-Lee thinks, writes, researches and consults on sustainability and responses to the challenges of the twenty-first century. He is the founder of Small World Consulting (SWC), an associate company of Lancaster University, which works with organisations from small businesses to the biggest tech giants. SWC is a leader in the field of carbon metrics, targets and actions. His previous books include How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything (2010) and The Burning Question: We Can’t Burn Half the World’s Oil, Coal, and Gas. So How Do We Quit? (2013, co-written with Duncan Clark). This book explores the big picture of climate change and the underlying global dynamics, asking what mix of politics, economics, psychology and technology is really required to deal with the problem. Berners-Lee is a professor in the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University, where he develops practical tools for thinking about the future, and researches the global food system and carbon metrics.
‘ a lively and cogent assessment of what is happening to the Earth’s biosphere and resources. He tells us what we can do if we want to make a difference, and tread more softly on the planet. All citizens should be grateful for this information-packed and wide-ranging primer.’ Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
‘This is a massively entertaining compendium of bite-sized facts It’s also massively important, given the current state of the planet.’ Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
‘Who should read There is No Planet B? Everyone. Mike Berners-Lee has written a far-ranging and truth-telling handbook that is as readable as it is instructive.’ Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker and author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
‘This clearly written and organized book is so sensible and useful that it becomes an unexpected aesthetic pleasure as well as a guide to action. No matter how much you already know, this book will help orient you to where we are now on this, the only planet we have (I can testify that Mars won’t do). It would be best if everyone read it.’ Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars trilogy and New York 2140
‘A much-needed, critically important, straight-talking handbook for absolutely everyone on our long-suffering planet. We ignore it at our peril.’ Mark Carwardine, co-author (with Douglas Adams) of Last Chance to See
‘Mike has created a wonderfully abundant buffet-table of knowledge about sustainability and you can enjoy it all at one sitting or benefit from visiting for bite-size chunks. Either way, you’ll come away wiser, healthier and also entertained. In our household, we noticed people couldn’t resist picking up a draft copy for a quick look and dipping in for far longer than they’d expected. Mike doesn’t preach, instead he shares his insights with warmth and wit, and his book could not be more timely.’ David Shukman, BBC Science Editor
‘I absolutely love this book. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the scale of the global challenges we face, then read this book. There Is No Planet B is full of practical guidance, evidence-based and robust, yet completely accessible, and sets out the difference any one of us can make. In an increasingly complex and confusing world, this book stands out as a beacon of common sense, clarity and – crucially – hope.’ Caroline Lucas, Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion
‘It asks all the searching and systemic questions I want to ask as humanity peers over a precipice and has a bloody good go at answering them with data, experience and integrity.’ Pooran Desai, Bioregional and Oneplanet.com
‘Mike Berners-Lee has a unique ability to communicate vital information on some of the world’s most pressing challenges. In this highly readable book, he shows how severe our problems are, but also what we can do to reduce the threats we face.’ Chris Goodall, author of Ten Technologies to Fix Energy and Climate
‘What is amazing and unique about this wonderful book is that it simultaneously addresses the practical every day questions troubling so many of us in these turbulent times while also clearing away the fog obscuring our paths into the future. And it does so in beautifully clear language. This truly is The Handbook we all need to flourish on our small planet.’ Stewart Wallis, Executive Chair, The Wellbeing Economy Alliance
‘ it is intended as a sort of Alexa to tell you how to live in a more planet-friendly fashion The book is as jargon-free as possible to ensure maximum reach, while endnotes hold details for the technically minded. Amazingly, it manages to make the complexities of planet-scale economic and environmental interconnectivity fun: a platter of potential doom, served with a smiley face and sparkler There is no Planet B is a rallying cry for a generation worried that they will inherit a world shorn of nature’s wonders and of the freedoms and opportunities we take for granted. Buying the book and adopting its key guidelines and mindset will go a long way to ensuring the planet we hand on may just be liveable.’ Adrian Barnett, New Scientist
‘Books about climate change usually make for grim reading. It is refreshing, then, to come across one that takes a different approach, presenting itself as a ‘handbook’ for how humanity can thrive in dark times The book is full of lists of what individuals can do to help the planet (such as eating less beef and voting for politicians who understand climate change) Berners-Lee’s greatest contribution is that he tackles this head on, taking a panoramic approach that runs from geeky facts about energy efficiency to musings about how to create a more truthful culture The central question that the book addresses, though, is probably the greatest issue of our time: how can we keep living happily on this planet? As the world continues to warm, it is a question that will become ever more urgent. Berners-Lee does not have all the answers, but certainly makes a noble start.’ Leslie Hook, Financial Times
‘This is, both organizationally and substantively, every bit what its author claims it to be, an ‘evidence-based practical guide to the make or break choices we face now’. All his expertise, in both subject matter and presentation, is on display in this new book the operational handbook on how to move forward. This book will satisfy the experts, enlighten the concerned (or merely interested), and motivate the activists.’ G. T. Dempsey, Geo Lounge (www.geolounge.com)