Drawdown Offers 100 Uplifting Climate Solutions
If our current administration’s head-in-the-sand approach to climate change leaves you with a sinking feeling, I’ve got just the book to buoy you: Paul Hawken’s Drawdown.
Drawdown leapt onto the New York Times top ten bestseller list in its first week of release, validating Hawken’s belief that a positive approach to this potentially overwhelming crisis is the best way to address it. He characterizes global warming not “as an inevitability, but as an invitation to build, innovate, and effect change.”
The Project Drawdown campaign invites you to join a global community of visionary individuals who’ve got an astonishing range of ideas on how we can tackle our climate crisis, no matter where we live or who governs us.
Even if you just leaf (or scroll) casually through the list of amazing breakthroughs that Hawken and his Drawdown colleagues have so painstakingly compiled and ranked according to their potential effectiveness, you can’t help being inspired and encouraged by all these ‘silver bbs.’ It makes for a surprisingly fun and fascinating read.
Lego (yes, the toy company) is doing wind power in Liverpool. The French have invented photovoltaic pavement. More universal solutions we can all adopt include limiting food waste and embracing a plant-based diet, which Drawdown ranks as the 3rd and 4th most powerful strategies to reduce our emissions. Drawdown provides an extensive list of agriculture-related climate change solutions being developed or already in use all over the world that we can encourage through our food choices.
One of the most unexpected conclusions of the Drawdown researchers was that the empowerment of women and girls through family planning and education rank as the 6th and 7th most effective solutions.
Why is this? In developing nations in particular, women are the “stewards & managers of food, soil, trees, and water.” How we utilize these resources plays an integral role in determining whether we are contributing to, or reducing, our carbon footprint. As Drawdown notes, “the barriers are real, but so are the solutions.”
Hawken thinks framing these challenges as a battle does nothing to engage people who aren’t already on board, and it may even alienate potential allies. How do we enlist people of all political stripes to move us forward?
Drawdown points out that the Latin root of “conserve” means “to keep together.” A true conservative, then, would want to keep the planet we all share from being torn apart by greed, ignorance or fear. Or rendered uninhabitable, as it may be in a few generations if we don’t take action now.
In the book’s introduction, Tom Steyer, the philanthropist and founder of NextGen Climate, describes Project Drawdown as “a road map with a moral compass.” It’s hard to know where this country is headed, but I’d love to see Drawdown steer millions more of us onto Hawken’s hopeful highway. Traffic jam? Bring it on! We could get out of our cars and dance, a la La La Land. Doesn’t that beat feeling defeated?
Read all the Project Drawdown solutions here.
Fight Energy Waste from Your Phone
Have you noticed stores that keep their doors open while running the air conditioning on hot summer days? Has this bothered you? Now you can do something about it!
Join Keep It Cool, a national campaign mobilizing consumers to help convince retailers to close their doors and stop wasting energy.
Participating is easy. All you have to do is spot front doors on shops, and use Facebook Messenger to drop a pin on a national map that tracks all of the stores identified with doors open or closed.
The campaign organizers will recognize shops that “Keep It Cool” with closed doors and reach out to educate retailers who allow energy to escape through their open doors.
“Our Keep it Cool campaign empowers consumers to anonymously have an impact on wasteful behaviors in their own neighborhoods. And it gives retailers the opportunity to do the right thing and showcase their green values. This is good for business, the community and the environment,” said Nate McFarland, director of communications at Generation 180, the nonprofit organizer of the campaign committed to advancing a cultural shift in energy awareness and clean energy adoption.
Retailers that run the air conditioning during hot summer months and open their doors to attract customers drive up costs, waste energy and increase pollution. Just the simple act of closing doors can reduce pollution significantly.
On average, each store with a door open wastes about 4,200 kWh of electricity over the summer. Generating this much electricity releases about 2.2 tons of carbon dioxide – the same amount of pollution emitted by a diesel semi-truck driving from New York to Miami.
The success of Keep It Cool depends on you participating and sharing activities with your friends and social networks. Everyone who cares about the environment can join in the effort this summer to help make your community cleaner and smarter.