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By ISB Staff Writer

Paul Hawken, Environmentalist & Activist, Sat., April 22, 8:00 pm, Campbell Hall, UCSB Arts & Lectures

After winning this year’s Environmental Hero Award at a Santa Barbara Earth Day celebration, Paul Hawken, a creative environmentalist and activist, spoke to a nearly-full crowd at Campbell Hall. His topic was 100 bold and practical ways to reverse global warming, which is detailed in a new book, “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming,” edited by him.

Even the most environmentally-literate experts in the world were surprised by Hawken and his research team’s results. The collection of data and ranking of solutions had never been done before. The number one global solution was refrigeration management! (For the top 10 ranking, please see Q&A below.)

Some of the global warming solutions are well-known and others you may not have heard before. The end result is that policymakers, advocates, citizens and entrepreneurs now have a realistic plan on what actually works to reverse global warming.

“I admit the book has a pretty cheeky and brash title,“ he said at the lecture. “Actually, it’s the only comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.” The book maps, measures and models the 100 most substantive solutions based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world.

The solutions are ranked in order of biggest positive impact on reversing global warming, including costs, savings, benefits and path forward. They are also summarized by sector. He said if we collectively deployed the solutions on a global scale over the next 30 years, we will actually reverse global warming.

The Drawdown research showed that the decisions we take at all levels of society impact our future on this planet. The analysis also showed that the costs of doing business-as- usual are higher than the costs to implement solutions to global warming.

The book “Drawdown” is easily accessible to readers with two pages per topic with color photos. It is written, according to Hawken, at a ninth grade level but is still packed with information of interest to the environmentally-literate.

If you missed the lecture, the end of this article lists where to get more information and an upcoming event to discuss the book with others in Santa Barbara on May 15.

What is “drawdown?”
Drawdown is the point in time when the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases begins to decline on a year-to- year basis.

What are the top 10 global solutions?
1. Refrigeration management
2. Wind turbines (onshore)
3. Reduced food waste
4. Plant-rich diet
5. Tropical forests
6. Educating girls
7. Family Planning
8. Solar farms
9. Silvopasture
10. Rooftop solar

How were the solutions evaluated and chosen?
The research team evaluated over 100 solutions usong the following criteria:

  • Is the solution currently available and scaling?
  • Is it economically viable? In other words, is there a business case?
  • Does it have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, either through avoided emissions or sequestration, by at least 50 million tons of greenhouse gases over 30 years?
  • Are there any negative results, such as pollution, reduced food security, land conversion, etc.? If so, do the positive benefits outweigh the negatives?
  • Do we have sufficient data to be able to model these technologies at global scale?

Many proposed solutions did not make the initial cut. Those that did underwent a full literature review and modeling by the research team.

Why wasn’t carbon pricing included?
Carbon pricing is a mechanism to implement solutions and not in itself a solution to global warming. Project Drawdown focuses on technological, ecological and behavioral solutions. The goal was to objectively analyze existing solutions for their potential to reduce and drawdown greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Therefore, the book does not include model incentive-based policies and financial mechanisms, such as carbon pricing or congestion pricing, for this book.

What can I do to help reach drawdown?
It depends on how you choose to invest your time, energy, finances and talents. Whether a home-owner decides on installing a solar water heater, a commercial building owner weighs the costs and benefits of a green roof, an investor provides capital for wind power, a city planner justifies expanding public transportation options, or a farmer decides what to plant this season – the book “Drawdown” contains relevant solutions to all sectors of society.

How can my organization collaborate with Project Drawdown?
Contact to inquire and describe your organization. A Drawdown team member will get back to you.

Learn More: including who comprised the research team, advisors, staff, board members and funders.

Discuss the Book: May 15 at the Santa Barbara Central Library. Check the library’s calendar for more info.

The UCSB Arts & Lectures event was sponsored by Lynda & Bruce Thematic Initiative Creating a Better World: Social Justice, Human Rights and Economic Security.