Saturday Reading


In this interview, environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author Paul Hawken discusses Project Drawdown, “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.” Hawken, who leads the project and edited the just-published book Drawdown, explains why his team felt it necessary to create a master list of the most substantive current solutions to global warming, and how they went about their extensive research. Surprisingly, many of the top solutions they identified and modeled do not involve energy systems, but instead focus on changes in food, land use, and other categories. Hawken speaks about global warming in positive terms, describing it as useful “feedback” that enables humans to take responsibility for what they have done – and to devote themselves to fixing the problem rather than to laying blame.

What Hawken – an environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author – had in mind was a list of the top solutions to global warming. He wanted solutions that already existed and that had been scientifically confirmed as the most effective ways to address the problem. He was astonished that nobody had drawn up such a list.

Twelve years later, there was still no list, so Hawken set about creating one – with the help of a group of researchers that eventually grew to more than 240 people and became known as Project Drawdown. They buried their noses in the scientific literature for two and half years, and when they emerged, they had a list of ways to reach drawdown: “that point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begin to decline.” A list that is fleshed out in the book Drawdown, just published by Penguin. A list that surprised everyone, even them.

They call it “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.” It’s a set of 80 solutions that already exist, and 20 “Coming Attractions” that are still emerging. The solutions include the obvious, such as wind and solar power, but the plan doesn’t focus exclusively on renewable energy or even on energy sources in general. The solutions also involve food, buildings and cities, land use, transport, materials, and initiatives aimed specifically at women and girls. Two of the solutions – family planning and educating girls – would be at the top of the list if combined.

Hawken has written seven books, including The Ecology of Commerce (HarperCollins, 1993) and Blessed Unrest (Viking, 2007), and he co-authored Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Little Brown, 1997) with Amory Lovins. He is the founder of the Natural Capital Institute, and of several companies focused on agriculture and natural food. He serves on the boards of many environmental organizations. Bulletin contributing editor Dawn Stover spoke with Hawken about Project Drawdown and approaching global warming as a problem that is “game on,” rather than “game over.”

@ The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists


About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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18 Responses to Saturday Reading

  1. Den says:

    Cooler here today, mid 60’s expected, a significant drop from the 90’s earlier this week. The tree bits are finally gone and so is the lawn, $700 a month for the privilege of maintaining their lot, what a scam! I do the bare minimum, trimming the weeds as needed, screw em.


  2. David B. Benson says:

    Serendipitous choice of topic today, Den. I already passed it along to Brave New Climate.

    On another topic the Nuevo Vallarta has new menus as the prices went up.


  3. David B. Benson says:

    Was planning on some stick walking today but it is overcast, I made 2 trips to the grocery store and have 335 minutes already, I decided not to.


  4. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    Housework today, can’t do it all at once anymore, have to space things out so all that got done was the beds got stripped and remade, laundry done as on every Saturday and I cleaned the bathroom! All three things, tub, sink and john. Most Saturdays I only clean the toilet. That’s the new routine as I’ve aged. I’ve half my old vim and vigor now.

    Sara and Nicholas came over around 4:00, she wanted to dig up plants to plant at their new house. She said there isn’t one blooming thing around the house, or property, so she’s had to make plans. I have a key bunch of plants for her, tiger lilies, hostas, columbines, astilbies a bleeding heart and lilacs. I was glad when she was done because you KNOW me, I have to help. I told her I envied her, that she could go back home and have no trouble doing, and enjoy planting her plants. Oh, for the good old days.

    Bob and I watched a movie after they left. Felt good to stretch out on the couch. Jim hates when I don’t give the title of what we watched, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”


  5. Den says:

    Boys! Quit playing with your balls, come and eat!


  6. jimhitchcock says:

    I’m not a heartless guy

    But the mice have returned.

    A huge field soon to harbor 320 3 story townhouses has been cleared next to my property. Field mice have been driven to relocate.

    Heard the scratching in my walls over the past few days, went with glue traps this time. Two for three today.

    I don’t like being inhumane, but they are not invited guests.


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