Free Forum Q&A – LESTER BROWN, Founder of Worldwatch and Earth Policy Institute author of PLAN B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

Written on July 9th, 2015

LB-Plan B4.0



Originally Aired October 2009

We are in a race between tipping points in natural and political systems.
Which will come first? Can we mobilize the political will to phase out coal-fired power plants before the melting of the Greenland ice sheet becomes irreversible? Can we halt deforestation in the Amazon basin before the forest becomes vulnerable to fire and is destroyed? Can we cut carbon emissions fast enough to save the Himalayan glaciers that feed the major rivers of Asia? Can we win this race?
LESTER BROWN thinks we can…

In his book, PLAN B 4.0: MOBILIZING TO SAVE CIVILIZATION, BROWN lays out the symptoms, the diagnosis, and the cure. He estimates that we could solve all the world’s greatest problems for $200B a year – less than half the US defense budget.

PLAN B 4.0 is a comprehensive plan for reversing the trends that are undermining our future. Its four overriding goals are to stabilize climate, stabilize population, eradicate poverty, and restore the earth’s damaged ecosystems. Failure to reach any one of these goals will likely mean failure to reach the others as well.It’s time for Plan B: an all-out response at wartime speed proportionate to the magnitude of the threats facing civilization.


Written on December 25th, 2014

Aired: 12/23/12

Recorded: 10/17/12

When gas prices were at or near record highs a few months ago in the US, that got people’s attention. What about food prices? Have you noticed them rising? Are you making different choices in the supermarket? If not, it might be because of two things.
One, in America so much of our food is processed, packaged and marketed, that raw commodity prices make up only a fraction of the price of the food we buy. In other countries, especially the less developed ones, an increase in the price of rice or corn can have a major effect on how much a family can afford to eat. Two, Americans spend only 9% percent of their income on food, while millions around the world spend 50-70%. Millions of households now routinely schedule foodless days each week-days when they will not eat at all. A recent survey by Save the Children shows that 14% of families in Peru now have foodless days. India, 24%. Nigeria, 27%.

In his newest book, FULL PLANET, EMPTY PLATES, LESTER BROWN writes,
“The U.S. Great Drought of 2012 has raised corn prices to the highest level in history. The world price of food, which has already doubled over the last decade, is slated to climb higher, ushering in a new wave of food unrest. This year’s corn crop shortfall will accelerate the transition from the era of abundance and surpluses to an era of chronic scarcity. As food prices climb, the worldwide competition for control of land and water is intensifying. In this new world, access to food is replacing access to oil as an overriding concern of governments. Food is the new oil, land is the new gold. Welcome to the new geopolitics of food.”



Q&A: MICHAEL LEWIS – author – Moneyball / The Blind Side / The Big Short

Written on December 19th, 2014
  Aired 04/04/10 Michael Lewis received a BA in art history from Princeton University and an Masters in economics from the London School of Economics. He worked as an investment banker for Salomon Brothers in the 80s before leaving to write LIAR'S POKER. Other books include MONEYBALL, on the Oakland A's, Billy Beane, and baseball's new wave of Ivy League general managers; PANIC: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity; HOME GAME: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood; and THE BLIND SIDE.


Written on September 9th, 2014
Aired 08/28/11 ROBERT JOHNSON serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and Director of the Project on Global Finance at the Roosevelt Institute. He recently served on the United Nations Commission of Experts on International Monetary Reform under the Chairmanship of Joseph Stiglitz. Previously, Johnson was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. He also served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee and was an Executive Producer of the Oscar winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side.

Free Forum Q&A – TIM DECHRISTOPHER: Civil disobedience (bidding) at public lands auction landed him 21 months in prison

Written on May 25th, 2014

 Aired: 6/30/13

On December 19, 2008 TIM DeCHRISTOPHER disrupted a highly disputed BLM auction, effectively safeguarding thousands of acres of land. Not content to merely protest outside, Tim entered the auction hall and registered as bidder #70. He outbid industry giants on land parcels (which, starting at $2 an acre, were adjacent to national treasures like Canyonlands National Park), winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million Two months later, incoming Interior Secretary Ken Salazar invalidated the auction. Yet DeChristopher was indicted and tried on two federal felonies and spent 21 months in prison.

Released in April 2013, DeChristopher is the subject of documentary film, Bidder 70, which opened this weekend at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills and other theaters around the country. He joins me this week to tell his story. What led him to that auction? What went through his mind as he began bidding and winning? Why didn’t he take a plea deal? What was his experience in prison? What message does he have for others?

We’ll also talk about the state of the movements to deal with energy, environment, and climate change, in light of Obama’s recent speech and the eventual decision whether or not to build the KeystoneXL pipeline.

“At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow…
— From Tim DeChristopher’s statement to the court at his sentencing hearing