New book by Lancaster University professor has ‘statistics that will make your eyes pop out on stalks’

Mike Berners-Lee
Mike Berners-Lee

A Lancaster University professor has penned a new book containing “statistics that will make your eyes pop out on stalks”.

Mike Berners-Lee describes There Is No Planet B as a “handbook which is intended to inform decision making at every level, from the individual to governments”.

There Is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee

There Is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee

It focuses on “the big picture” perspective of environmental and economic challenges of the day, and includes sections on food, climate and environment, energy, travel and transport, people and work, growth, money and metrics, business and technology, values, truth and trust.

Prof Berners-Lee, from the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University, who also runs his own business Small World Consulting, said: “The big picture is that humans have become such a powerful species, and recently we’ve become a species that will smash up the whole world if we’re not careful.

“It’s about the quality of our stewardship and how that needs to improve.

“(The book is) a very joined up big picture challenge so you need to look at everything at once. We all need to get better at it.”

It asks question like “when it’s all so global - what can I do?”, and “How can I trust whether to trust anything in this book?”, to which the response is “this is exactly the question you should be asking”.

“The book contains concrete hard facts and statistics”, Prof Berners-Lee says.

“Some of the statistics make your eyes pop out on stalks, like, for example, the fact that there is 2.5 times more food on the planet than we need, or the small amount of solar power that we actually need to meet all our energy needs. I know it was the book that needed writing.”

The book states that solar panels covering an area of 228 miles by 228 miles would meet today’s total energy needs.

Prof Berners-Lee added: “It’s not a dream of everything being perfect, but what we need to get much better at is the big picture. It’s fun, it’s accessible, but it’s also rigorous and covers every action we might want to take.

“Looking at Lancaster - it’s about how we should be running our city, the food we could be eating, big questions about what we do with our land.

“These are challenging questions for politicians, both local and national - how we do transport and infrastructure, and also how the university conducts itself.

“I want every policy maker to read this book.”