Review: Drawdown – The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken

By Sjoerd Kluiving

Project Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. The authors, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists, did not make or devise the plan—the plan exists and is being implemented worldwide. It has been difficult to envision this possibility because the focus is overwhelmingly on the impacts of climate change. Every newspaper, news bulletin or media outlet reports on a daily basis on the effects of human impact on the environment. Sometimes the discussion on climate change overwhelms the stage, while loss of biodiversity and ocean acidification are equally in danger as planetary boundaries. What can humans do to alter their behavior? How people react in times of transition is a question that goes beyond this book. But the nice tone and great detail with which each of the 100 solutions that combat global warming are presented are really stimulating and make one believe that change is now in our own hands.

What is uncovered in Drawdown is a path forward that can roll back global greenhouse gas emissions within thirty years. The techniques and practices described range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. While the looming but omnipresent Anthropocene has an even wider impact than climate change, it is certain that combatting climate change is paving the path for addressing multiple other Anthropocene themes or Planetary Boundaries, such as is illustrated by the Innovations chapter in Drawdown, the envisioned solutions on top of the 100 established and already functioning solutions. Nothing new needs to be invented, yet many more solutions are coming due to purposeful human ingenuity. The mission for the next decades is to scale up these innovative projects and ideas. Marine permaculture with kelp forest ecosystems for example is such a scalable innovation that might have impact on natural CO2 storage as well as reversing ocean acidification.

When reading Drawdown I have been, and still am, positively stimulated to see how much in fact can be done to reverse global warming in a life cycle. The project has gathered a qualified and diverse group of researchers from around the world to identify, research, and model the 100 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change. The solutions Project Drawdown modeled are right in place and in action. Humanity’s task is to accelerate the knowledge and growth of what is possible as soon as possible. The result of this book gives a positive stimulus to science and entrepreneurism that will reach out to a more sustainable home and wider environment. Many countries around the world are designing and implementing low emission development strategies, such as policies targeting towards a climate-neutral economy all over Europe in 2050, or Japan’s plan to cut green house gas (GHG) emissions by 60-80% by 2050. This book is one of the best handbooks for humanity to read, learn and enjoy from. 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.

The book is a revelation for everybody: from students to teachers, from politicians to entrepreneurs, from grandchildren to grandparents, from village people to global citizens, in fact for all people on earth who care about our environment in its broadest sense and who want to feel responsible about the fate and future of ‘our’ planet earth.

Drawdown – The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming compiled by Paul Hawken, Copyright © 2017 Penguin Books (original) Project Drawdown. ISBN/EAN 978-90-78171-32-4, 238p. climatecleanup.org, http://www.drawdown.org

Featured picture credit: Tools and Toys: http://toolsandtoys.net/drawdown-by-paul-hawken/

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