The Human Agenda

I think I mentioned last week that I'm currently working my way through the book Drawdown again. Partly because I have a memory like a sieve - how on earth am I supposed to remember anything I read two years ago?? - and partly because it keeps me feeling hopeful about Earth's prospects as opposed to utterly despairing for our future. Before I start diving into each of the potential solutions the book offers up, I wanted to ramble a bit about a few points the book raises first.


Paul Hawken, the creator of Project Drawdown, writes in his introduction to the book that we should see global warming "not as an inevitability but as an invitation to build, innovate, and effect change, a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion, and genius. This is not a liberal agenda, nor is it a conservative one. This is the human agenda."


To me, that seems perfectly obvious. I truly don't understand how certain issues become partisan issues rather than 'this affects EVERYONE' issues. It's a bit like wearing masks in the USA... Covid-19 does not give a hoot if you're a Republican or a Democrat. Just wear a mask to protect your neighbour - it's basic civility. How can you make this a political issue when it's just a public health issue?


It's the same with global warming. Again, your political views should have nothing to do with something that affects all of us. The approach to global warming seems like it should fall under Risk Management 101. What's the worst that can happen if we deny global warming? The end of the human race. What's the worst that can happen if we clean up our act and try to stop global warming? A cleaner, healthier world for everyone living on the planet. WHY IS THIS A HARD CHOICE?? Why wouldn't we do everything in our power to protect this gorgeous planet?

I realise that if you're on this website reading this post, I'm essentially preaching to the choir, but sometimes a bit of a vent is necessary. However, moving on!


The first issue that Drawdown addresses is that of language. One of the points Hawken raises that I find interesting is the rhetoric about climate change. We often use military language when discussing this issue - the war on carbon, the fight against global warming, slashing emissions. Hawken says that this language implies that "climate change is the enemy and it needs to be slain." But the climate has always changed and always will. The problem is how we are changing the climate negatively through our behaviour.


As Hawken writes, "The only goal that makes sense for humanity is to reverse global warming, and if parents, scientists, young people, leaders, and we citizens do not name the goal, there is little chance it will be achieved." Hence the term drawdown - "the point in time at which greenhouse gases peak and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis."


I find it comforting that someone has gone to the trouble of putting together a list of 100 ways we can achieve drawdown. While I do worry about humanity's ability to come together and implement these solutions - see above point about us not even being able to wear a mask to help each other out - this list of actions that are proven to bring us closer to drawdown gives me hope.


As Hawken says, it may feel like it's game over, but it's actually game on.

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