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Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever…

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global…

by Paul Hawken

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Maybe a decade ago now, I read “Blessed Unrest.” What I took away from this book was that humanity is responding to global warming on a massive scale in a decentralized and intuitive way. People all over the world are working in concert, without the need for centralized planning, or even an awareness of each others work, due to something innate in us.

Well, it seems like Hawken’s faith in humanity has waned over the intervening years. His new book, “Drawdown,” has its foundations not in cultural or spiritual realms, but instead is grounded in hard science, technology, and numbers. The book proclaims that it is “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming,” and I don’t doubt it. Almost a hundred researches worked years to prepare this material, and each of the hundred solutions presented in the books is backed by a thirty-page technical white paper (available on their website), and cumulatively, their models cite tens of thousands of sources and millions of data points.

So, where does all of this get us? In the “plausible” scenario (conservatively optimistic), between 2020 and 2050 we “reduce” atmospheric CO2 emission equivalents by one teraton, and spend a net amount of $30 trillion. Supposedly this will stabilize atmospheric carbon, but not move us significantly into drawdown. In other words, if things go according to plan, we’ll still be stuck somewhere above 400ppm of carbon in the atmosphere at 2050, locking in catastrophic global warming (as the upper region of the “safe” limit is 350ppm).

For all the creative, amazing, and fascinating scenarios drawn up over the course of the book, I dearly wish that more weight was given to the social, political, and cultural aspects of this conversation. Ultimately, our technological “solutions” are nested within this context, and if anything, are more important than the solutions themselves.

So what kind of solutions are we talking about? As you guessed, green energy is part of the picture. But one of the biggest sectors under investigation was our relationship with land (primarily via agriculture and forestry). Other areas include Women and Girls, Buildings and Cities, Transport, Materials, and Coming Attractions (visionary but unproven concepts).

In some ways, this is a reactionary text. Fossil fuel companies knew what climate change was back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. By the ‘90s people understood it was a serious issue, and there were lots of good ideas about what we could do about it. And then the climate change deniers came along, and the whole backlash against preserving the future of humanity. And here we are well into the second decade of the 21st century—with our climate spiraling out of the range in which human habitation can occur, and, at least in the US, a political climate that will sooner implement Universal Basic Income and pay Reparations then address climate change in a substantive way.

In other words, well-meaning NorCal progressives like Hawken are freaking out—and for good reason! I too have found myself engaging in activities explicitly addressing climate change, even though I fundamentally believe that climate change is a surface-level issue that can only be solved by addressing more fundamental systems (such as culture). I don’t think we’re wasting our time to get all analytical on these issues. But I strongly recommend (for myself as much as others), that we don’t lose our felt sense of a connection with the words of mentors and organizations like Charles Eisenstein, Martin Prechtel, Timothy Morton, J. G. Bennett, and the Dark Mountain Project (as well as the younger and more idealistic version of Hawken) that remind us that climate change can only be addressed from a living-systems perspective that goes beyond solar panels, electric vehicles, and closed-loop recycling.

Drawdown is a page-turner for prescient geeks scrambling to hedge against the Anthropocene Extinction. I recommend you go out and get yourself a copy—you’ll be referencing it for years to come. But don’t stop there! Remember to commune with the more-than-human-world in which you’re immersed, make the space to grieve for the violence of these times, and ground into holistic work that lives into the now in a balanced and deeply human way. ( )
  willszal | Sep 16, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143130447, Paperback)

The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world

In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here—some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. If deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, they represent a credible path forward, not just to slow the earth’s warming but to reach drawdown, that point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. These measures promise cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well-being—giving us every reason to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 21 Apr 2017 16:19:43 -0400)

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