The Commerce and Engineering Environmental Conference began the executive blogs with the idea that among all the rhetoric of sustainability, climate change and global warming we are lost to how we can create change. It seems that students are not the only ones that share this frustration. Paul Hawken, one of the leading environmental scientists in the world began asking: “Do we know what we need to do in order to arrest and reverse global warming?” He was met with uncertainty by his colleagues. It seemed that even the scientists that warned of us of the catastrophic effects of global warming have no game plan to combat it.
“If you are travelling down the wrong road, you are still on the wrong road if you slow down“
After more alarming articles surfaced, Paul created Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming as an answer to his original question. He brought together a coalition of 200 researchers, professionals, and scientists to set realistic and bold solutions to climate change; the result of his learning platform was 100 techniques and practices that took a humanistic approach to reversing global warming.
“In conducting our research, we found a plan, a blueprint that already exists in the world in the form of humanity’s collective wisdom. Engaged citizens the world over are doing something extraordinary. This is their story.”
Paul quickly found that the answer to his questions on climate change lay in the existing applied, and hands-on practices and technologies used around the world. 195 nations have come together to acknowledge that we have a crisis on our doorstep and devised national plans of action. Individual farmers, communities, cities, companies, and governments have shown that they care about this planet, its people and its places. Paul’s book embodies the individuals that have found ways to make change, and offers direction for those that, like him, CEEC delegates, readers and executives wish to make a change moving forward.
“What we measure and model in Drawdown is how to begin the reduction of greenhouse gases in order to reverse global warming”
Paul’s message has deep roots in humanistic thinking. His solutions, economically viable and scientifically valid – some well-known; some you may have never heard of – are ecological, societal, biological and technological. See below for the top 15 solutions ranked by carbon dioxide reduction.
For the full list of solutions: http://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank
Technology amounts for 3 of the top 15 solutions, however it seems to govern our conversations in economic and political spheres. We have become narrowly focused on renewable energy as the sole proprietor that could help us slow global warming. Drawdown proposes a holistic shift in our thinking of climate change action.
“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 the human agenda.”
The power in Drawdown comes from the humanistic approach he has taken to reversing global warming. Highlighting that wind energy will see it’s rise because of lowering utility costs on homeowners; Plant-Rich Diet having positive impacts on health and environment; Empowering women smallholders to close the gender gap in agriculture while helping them reinvest in their crops; Infrastructure spending on walkable cities that has proven societal benefits on communities while reducing emissions; Indigenous peoples’ land management and the list continues.
“The only goal that makes sense for humanity is to reverse global warming, and if parents, scientists, young people, leaders, and we citizens do not name the goal, there is little chance it will be achieved”
Innovation and success comes from exploiting change, and Paul has just equipped us with 100 of these revolutionary changes to come in the near future. For our business students let’s find ways to exploit these changes with economic policy and sound business judgement. Engineers, social scientists and environmental scientists, equip yourself with the know-how to advance these solutions to make them scalable. Let’s create 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.