September 2008 Archives

September Reading: Chapter 1

Asking the Big Questions begins with the book Plan B 3.0. For September the reading is on Chapter 1: Entering a New World.

The evening will begin with an introduction from Library Director LeAnn Dean. Facilitator and UMM Sustainability Coordinator Troy Goodnough will then summarize the reading. An open discussion will follow.

Chapter 1: Entering a New World.

Ice sheets melting. Rising sea levels. Population growth. Failing nation states. Market failures. Shrinking forests and collapsing fisheries.These are just some of the problems explored in the opening chapter of Plan B 3.0.. It is a litany of troubles and the world, Brown argues, is in bad shape.

"We are in a race between tipping points in the Earth's natural systems and those in the world's political systems."

Here are a few BIG questions to ponder in the reading. Feel free to comment here on this blog and in the library discussion.

  • What do people think about the idea that many of our natural systems are at a “tipping point?â€? Does this information seem a little bit too doomsday?
  • What are the benefits of building a new economy, and do they outweigh any short-term costs?
  • Can we really trust the free market to allocate resources rationally?
  • What does it mean for our natural systems to have an economy build on permanent increasing consumption, known as “growth.â€? What would an alternative economic model look like?
  • Do you think we are properly educated and also properly informed enough as US citizens to assess the risks being discussed by scientists about some of these issues?
  • Should we have a general report card for the planet to help us to make sense of how our sustaining systems are doing?
  • Whose responsibility is it to investigate, share and work for action to alleviate, abbreviate or prepare for possible future problems?

Additional reading: IPCC 2007 Climate Change Report

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