Much like the Magritte painting entitled This is not a pipe, Blueprint is not a blueprint. It is a polemic, a diatribe, and an unstintingly naive view of society.
It starts off really strongly. Rirdan ends the first two chapters on the abysmal damage to the land and the sea with: "If this has not been a crime, nothing is. If this has not been immoral, nothing is." Powerful. And he's at his best when he puts things in perspective:
Yet this same insightful, passionate scientist then turns around and says things like: "The thing is this: we cannot pull energy out of our a***s." (p149) This is not your father's blueprint.
His analysis animal life is most cold and callous. His blueprint calls for dogs and cats to simply be dispensed with, along with most horses, which are raised purely for our entertainment. Bats fair no better. Though millions of bats are killed in wind farms, allowing the flying insect population to balloon, he says it's a small price to pay.
Half the book, about 250 pages, is devoted to superficial descriptions of pilot projects all over the world, which he simply assumes can be scaled up to global proportions, though the authors of those studies (and Rirdan is proud to have over 500 citations in his book) don't seem quite as sure. Rirdan simply assumes everyone will give up their lawns and rooftops for crops so we can have forests. He thinks Canada, the US and Mexico will simply give up the plains for roaming cattle and bison. For drinking water, he proposes massive straight line canals across the USA, plus 472 giant reverse osmosis plants up and down the coasts. But his blueprint abruptly cuts out when he has to deal with the pollution from those nearly 500 multi-billion dollar plants: "For this I find no satisfactory solution. However, I am confident that it is nothing that a few thousand engineers, chemists, biologists and marine biologists working in tandem cannot handle in a few years of focused research and development." (p273) Some blueprint.
He nails it shut with his structural solutions, which we used to call communism, but with a reality show (his words) twist. He complains about government: "We can't take a c**p without a permit." (p381) But his solution, incredibly, is another new layer of government! This would be a worldwide government that would regulate births, employment, construction and resources. And all the governments of the world would be subservient to it in its domains. Right. And magically, all the political problems of the world disappear: "Under the new setup, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will cease to have any real relevancy." (p400) Poof.
For someone who lives in Colorado, he seems to have missed that 56% of Americans don't even believe that global warming is true, and fewer ever vote. Hell, 25% continue to smoke. Are they ready for an environmental uber government that watches their workplace and home performance?
This is not so much a blueprint as a reminder of a long essay assigned in high school - If I Were King Of The World. He interviews and quotes no one. He sees no need to present opposing views, no need to consider costs, no need to consider society. Rirdan has his utopia all set out, and though it's clearly impossible, it would definitely save the planet. However, no one would want to live there. It's back to the drawing board I'm afraid.