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Common Reader (2020-2021): There is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years: Discussion Guide

Discussion Questions

 ​​​​​       1. Consider the subjects of the eight main chapters in the book:

Food---Climate and Environment---Energy---Travel and Transport---Growth, Money, and Metrics

People and Work---Business and Technology---Values, Truth, and Trust

Why do you think the author organized his book around these subjects? Did any surprise you? Which did you know the most about? Which do you think needs more attention and in what forum (for example, the media, academics, etc.)?

  1. Mike Berners-Lee wrote his book as a series of questions and answers. What do you think about this format? What questions do you still have?

  1. Determine your carbon footprint using a footprint calculator. What kinds of questions were you asked? Make connections between these questions and the ones in the book.
  2. There are over 50 environmental topics featured in the database Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints and almost 40 environmental topics featured in the Issues and Controversies database. Why have environmental issues been so controversial and contentious? How can we create more unified discussions and action plans?
  3. Which aspect of environmentalism is most important to you? Name three ways the average person can support positive change in this area.
  4. Name some environmental activists you know about. What have they done to inspire you? Discuss how all different kinds of people---scientists, teachers, politicians, teenagers---all play a role in addressing environmental issues.

Book Talk with Mike Berners-Lee


Modern Environmental Movement Timeline

Documented by PBS' American Experience