Project Drawdown, led by Paul Hawken, details 100 ways we can take greenhouse gasses (as carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents) out of the atmosphere. The solutions have potential to either reduce emissions or sequester 1,052.04 gigatons (gigaton = 1 billion metric tons) of CO2 equivalents between 2020 and 2015. Drawdown is the point where globally we start to reduce atmospheric CO2.
The project groups 80 solutionss into 7 clusters, and the cluster that can generate the highest reduction – 31%, is food. Between 2020 and 2050, food initiatives that are already underway can reduce CO2 by 321.9 gigatonnes.
The top twenty solutions contain some surprises. Note that refrigerant management is number one. The range of solutions provides lots of scope for action in Northland. The full list is here.
The psychology of change
We have the technology and knowledge we need to reduce atmospheric CO2 either within our hands or within reach. What we don’t have, is the collective will to implement solutions. In addition to the sheer scope of Project Drawdown Paul Hawken and his team address the psychology of change.
For those that feel like climate change is too big for them to have impact, the solutions provide lots of options for action. That is encouraging! What is also encouraging is the optimistic tone of the book. Paul Hawken writes:
If we change the preposition, and consider that global warming is happening for us – an atmospheric transformation that inspires us to change and reimagine everything we make and do – we begin to live in a different world. We take 100 percent responsibility and stop blaming others. We see global warming not as an inevitability but as an invitation to build, innovate, and effect change, a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion, and genius. This is not a liberal agenda, nor is it a conservative one. This is a human agenda.
At number six and seven on the list is “educating girls” and “family planning”. At number 62 is women smallholders. These are emancipating aspirations. According to Drawdown women feed many more people than the industrial food system:
On average, women make up 43 percent of the agricultural labor force and produce 60 to 80 percent of food crops in poorer parts of the world. Often unpaid or low-paid laborers, they cultivate field and tree crops, tend livestock, and grow home gardens. Most of them are part of the 475 million smallholder families who operate on less than 5 acres of land. more>>
Here’s Paul Hawken. Its a long video, but well worth the watch!