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Solutions Thinking and Climate Change

Assessments from scientists about the consequences of climate change are increasingly dire. They say we only have a few years to try to avert the most catastrophic consequences of a warming planet. But what can we do?

Project Drawdown tries to answer that question. An outgrowth of the best-selling book Drawdown, the organization ranks the best ways to limit and eventually decrease the amount of greenhouse gases released into the earth’s atmosphere.

The Optimist Daily co-founder, and former Editor-in-Chief Jurriaan Kamp spoke with Paul Hawken, author of Drawdown, a book and digital platform that maps, measures, and models the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming.

Each of the 100 solutions falls under one or more categories of the three things we can do about global warming: stop the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere; change to renewable energy low in carbon emissions; and sequestration, bringing carbon back to the earth through photosynthesis. Of the three, sequestration is probably the least understood but most important when it comes to achieving the goal stated in the project’s name: drawdown. According to Paul Hawken, “drawdown is that point in time at which greenhouse gases peak and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis.” Hawken’s goal of the Drawdown project was to identify, measure, and model substantive solutions to determine how much we could accomplish within three decades.

What emerges from this list of solutions is some clarity about the path forward on global warming, which, in a media landscape that tends to exacerbate fear and despair around this topic, is a real reason for feeling optimistic. “Beyond the doom and gloom talk of climate change and global warming, humanity is already successfully working on solving the problem,” says Kamp. “This is not wishful thinking, rather a conservative analysis of what’s already happening,” Kamp continues. “There’s a credible path towards a just and livable world. This book offers empowerment and even a happy smile.”

Find one thing you can do, do it, and then find another. By such incremental steps are long journeys made. Consider how, in the end, daily decisions got us to this place, and daily actions will get us out.


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