Drawdown offers us the most comprehensive plan to reverse climate change. It is past time we stop debating which solutions are best and do them all.
In a long and distinguished career, Drawdown may be Paul Hawken’s most important contribution. The trailblazing book, for the first time, presented a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming and resulted in the creation of Project Drawdown, a nonprofit which continues to be an incredible resource for climate action. Countless organizations and individuals worldwide use the book as a North Star, a guide, an inspiration. And yet, I sometimes find myself, and I sometimes see others, debating which ideas from the book are best and which solutions we should focus on. Such debates usually end up diverting our attention from what matters. In many cases, they leave us as spectators, talking about the game, rather than participants, playing the game on the field and determining the outcome. I say, we need to stop debating which of Drawdown’s solutions are most important and simply address all of them. All of them.
How can we reverse climate change as quickly and equitably as possible? It is a question that those of us in the environmental space have undoubtedly asked ourselves (and others) countless times. Drawdown demonstrates that we already have the solutions to the climate crisis on hand. After extensive research, the Drawdown team did not merely compile a list of 5 key action areas that can help guide us to an effective pathway to stop the planet’s warming. They developed a list of 80 key action areas. Virtually all of them need to be effectively addressed to reach the amount of impact needed for our goal of reversing global warming.
World Tree is working on some of Project Drawdown’s solutions
World Tree is already at work on many of Project Drawdown’s solutions, most notably: forest protection, silvopasture, tree intercropping, and tree plantations (on degraded land). Indeed, one of my previous articles centers on how sustainably farmed timber can protect old-growth forests. World Tree was founded to protect these old-growth forests, to provide a viable, regenerative, and sustainable source of lumber. Yet, as that article acknowledges, protecting the world’s forests is also a multi-dimensional issue that cannot simply be solved by creating a plentiful supply of lumber. After all, not all deforestation is due to the forestry industry. Examining the drivers of tree cover loss by region is an illuminating exercise—wildfire, shifting agriculture, and commodity-driven deforestation are also causes of deforestation.
We need many solutions, not a few
Perhaps because of these multi-faceted issues, because of our particular environmental interests, or because of our very human need to turn complex questions into simple ones, many of us in the environmental sphere can fall into the trap of debating which actions (out of the many good ones) are most important when tackling climate change. However, as Drawdown has identified, we need many solutions, not simply a few. When we discuss which climate solutions to pursue, it cannot be an either/or conversation. The both/and conversations are where the fruit hangs.
All climate solutions are interrelated
As Project Drawdown notes, its “solutions are tools of possibility in the face of a seemingly impossible challenge.” Through tree plantations, World Tree is engaging in forest protection. In integrating methods of regenerative agriculture into our farming, World Tree addresses some of the project’s many other solutions, such as silvopasture, tree intercropping, multistrata agroforestry, and regenerative annual cropping. We are even exploring adding biochar into our business. By leaving behind either/or conversations and embracing both/and conversations, we are left with one of Drawdown’s clear takeaways: all solutions to climate change are interconnected. By beginning one of them, we can impact all of them.
By Doug Willmore – World Tree, CEO
as a part of the CEO Insights Series
Sharing insights into new and ongoing developments within the sustainability sphere, as well as our own progress in deepening World Tree’s contribution.