Even given the extraordinary environmental challenges the world is facing, there is much to be upbeat about. Almost everything we need to do to build the new economy has been done in one or more countries. And we have the technologies needed to do it.
- An advanced-design wind turbine can produce as much energy as an oil well.
- Japanese engineers have designed a vacuum refrigerator that uses only one-eighth the electricity of those marketed a decade ago.
- Brazil, already getting 40 percent of its automotive fuel from low-cost sugarcane-based ethanol, can phase out gasoline use within a matter of years.
- Once almost treeless, South Korea has planted trees on its hills and mountains, covering 65 percent of its land with forests.
- In Europe, wind farms supply the residential electricity needs of 40 million consumers; by 2020 they are projected to supply 195 million consumers – half of Europe’s population.
- If we add a second storage battery and a plug-in capacity to a gas-electric hybrid car while investing in thousands of wind farms across the United States to feed cheap electricity into the grid, we could do most of our short-distance driving with wind energy.
- Within a year or two of establishing a marine reserve, fish populations increase 91 percent, fish size increases 31 percent, and species diversity increases 20 percent.
- India, using small-scale dairy production that relies almost entirely on crop residues for feed, has overtaken the United States as the world’s leading milk producer.
- Fish farming advances have made China the first country where fish farm output exceeds the oceanic catch.
— from Plan B 2.0. Rescuing a planet under stress and a civilization in trouble. Lester R. Brown. 2009. W.W. Norton.