Drawdown Insights

Feature  |  May 23, 2023
small business
7 meaningful climate actions for small and medium-sized businesses
by Aiyana Bodi
It’s time to elevate and expand corporate sustainability from the often siloed, underresourced work of small sustainability teams to the work of every team—harnessing the passion and expertise that every employee has to advance climate action. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) especially have a unique opportunity to engage their entire organizations. That's because their flexible and innovative natures can orchestrate cross-functional sustainability strategies much more easily than a large corporation. SMBs can leverage their existing employee responsibilities and knowledge to create meaningful impact—without exhausting already limited time and resources. Every business function can help make a difference: Finance: Make sure you’re banking with a bank that is fossil fuel-free. Government Relations and Public Policy: Keep up-to-date with local legislation and voice your support. Human Resources and Operations: Provide your employees with climate-friendly 401(k)s. Legal: When you work with external counsel, choose climate-committed law firms. Marketing: Nudge your customers to take their own climate action. Procurement: Give preference to sustainable suppliers.  Sales: Integrate climate action into your sales models. Dive deeper and read the full article HERE!
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Perspective  |  May 18, 2023
office workers viewed through windows
What are you working in service of?
by Ted Otte
Round after round of layoffs, deepest in the tech industry, have left over a quarter million workers wondering what’s next for their careers. I was one of them. After a dramatic acquisition, Twitter was no longer a public company, and I no longer had a job. This isn’t how I wanted the ride to end, but the hard stop was the kicker I needed to really ask myself, “What do I want to be working in service of?” At this point, the “tech to climate” narrative has become a meme, and for a good reason. Embedded in the unfortunate circumstances in which many former tech workers (now job seekers) find themselves is immense potential to accelerate new leadership in the climate solutions era with a massive migration of employee capabilities and creativity. The drumbeat has been growing louder in this direction for years, demonstrated by the rise of climate career platforms, resilient capital flows, and the urgent need to equip a new generation of builders.  
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Video  |  May 4, 2023
Doughnut Design for Business
Can what’s good for business be good for the planet? Erinch Sahan, business & enterprise lead at Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL), explores that question in this 50-minute webinar hosted by Drawdown Labs. Doughnut Economics is an economic paradigm for meeting the needs of all people within the means of the  planet. This webinar looks at how businesses can apply the concept to become more regenerative through their purpose, networks, governance, ownership, and finance. By engaging with the Drawdown Labs Business Coalition, DEAL is helping bring Business Model Transformation—a key component of the Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework—to life. Watch now to learn how companies can unlock tangible design elements to help bring humanity into the “Doughnut,” the space that is both ecologically safe and socially just and in which humanity can thrive.
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News  |  April 20, 2023
The Drawdown Roadmap
New “Drawdown Roadmap” charts the path to a climate-stable future
We know the “why” and the “what” of working to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. But the “when,” “where” and “how” have been largely a matter of guesswork—until now. With the launch today of the Drawdown Roadmap, Project Drawdown—the world’s leading source of climate solutions—is outlining a specific, actionable strategy for implementing solutions on a global scale in time to avoid the worst adverse effects of climate change. “We live in the most incredible moment in human history,” said Project Drawdown executive director Jonathan Foley in announcing the release. “We now have both the means and opportunity to accelerate climate solutions. Let’s do it.”
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Feature  |  April 14, 2023
Cooperative farm workers
What are you doing in your neighborhood this Earth Week?
by Matt Scott
Earth Week, which takes place April 14–22, is an occasion inviting people everywhere to turn their attention to climate change and find their role in climate solutions. Do you know how you’ll help the world counter climate change this coming Earth Week? If you’re looking for your own Earth Week ideas, check out the Drawdown Solutions Library, our Job Function Action Guides, or partner resources like Drawdown Ecochallenge. Looking for even more ways you can make an impact, like some of the everyday climate heroes we’ve featured to-date through the climate solutions short documentary series Drawdown’s Neighborhood? Today, we invite you to learn how some of the local climate heroes and organizations featured in Drawdown’s Neighborhood interviewees are celebrating Earth Week in their communities.
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Profile  |  April 3, 2023
Drawdown Science team member Kate Marvel
Drawdown Science Profile: Kate Marvel
This article is the fourth in a series introducing the members of Project Drawdown’s new science team. Kate Marvel is a climate scientist who focuses on modeling how our planet is changing and understanding what could happen in the future. Before joining Project Drawdown, Kate worked at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Columbia University, Stanford University, the Carnegie Institution, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. A former cosmologist, she received a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cambridge University. Her book Human Nature will be published by Ecco Press in 2023. Here, Kate shares what brought a cosmologist down to Earth, how going on way too long of a hike can help catalyze a career in climate science, and more.  Q: What is your role with the Project Drawdown Science team?  A: As the senior scientist for climate, I’m helping to understand the climate impacts of solutions and the climate impact if we don't deploy those solutions. My role is one that I can’t accomplish alone—I really need to be working with an interdisciplinary team. This is why I’m so excited to be here. I love learning new things, I love talking to people smarter than me. And to be able to do that in the service of climate solutions is a dream come true.   Q: What superpower do you bring to the job? A: Not being afraid of asking dumb questions. I have an awareness of what I don't know and a respect for what other people know and the ability to talk across disciplines and to listen across disciplines. It takes a lot of effort and energy to be an expert in any field. But that’s not enough. We need experts in everything, but we need translators, too. Q: What’s a childhood toy or experience that relates to the work you’re doing today? A: My dad used to take me on very poorly planned outdoor adventures—ones I was much too young for, like a 15-mile hike, and forget to do very basic things like bring water. That gave me both a love of the natural world and also a healthy respect for it. And that contributes to how I feel about climate change. Nature is always throwing things at us. You sometimes hear, “Don’t worry, we’ll just adapt.” I agree there are many things we need to do to increase resilience, but there is no “just” about it. Nature is a very powerful force, and we’re changing it in a big way. Q: What was the subject of your Ph.D. dissertation, and why?  A: On the spontaneous generation by quantum tunneling of a bubble of alternative universes within our universe. I chose that because I was interested in trying to solve what is probably one of the most outstanding problems in physics, which is (awkwardly) that we have no idea what 95 percent of the universe is. I’m not sure it worked, but it was interesting, and it taught me quantitative skills I still use today.  Q: How did you get from there to here?  A: I realized in the process that the most interesting things to me were made out of normal matter and in fact are here on Earth. This is where everything I care about is, and it’s changing, and maybe I can use some of my physics skills to understand how and why this place I love is changing and maybe be able to do something about that. I got a science fellowship at Stanford that was flexible as long as it had a science component and policy component. I used that to explore different areas and landed on climate modeling. Q: What’s a favorite Drawdown Solution?  A: I’ll go with seaweed farming. My 7-year-old wants to be a kelp farmer, mostly because he thinks that he’ll get his own sea otter that way. We talk a lot about climate change—not in a doom and gloom framework, but about how we know this is a problem and we know there are many different solutions. And this is one way he wants to help solve it.  Q: When you’re not working, what’s your ideal way to spend a weekend? A: I love water—swimming, surfing, going to the beach with my family. I grew up in Ohio. Not growing up in a coastal city is a great way to learn to love the coast. Q: You have a book, Human Nature, coming out later this year. Care to provide a sneak preview?  A: It’s the story of climate science in nine different emotions. In each chapter I present an aspect of the science and how it makes me feel—the physics of the Earth and wonder; attribution and shame; the history of global warming science and anger at how it was ignored, and so on. The second-to-last pair is solutions and hope, and the final chapter pairs the fundamental interconnectedness of everything with the emotion of love. That’s why I got into his line of work. I love the Earth, and I love the people on it.  Q: You seem both a right-brain and a left-brain person. How do you get your two selves to play well together? A: I don’t really see them in opposition. Science can really learn from the arts. When we look at climate projections, it helps to be able to use the tools that an artist would use, that a writer would use. We talked about communicating across disciplines. That’s what literature is for; that’s what poetry is for.  Q: Who is your climate hero?  A: Whoever is reading this—you are my climate hero if you are doing climate solution work. Like to learn more about Kate? Check out her TED talk, “Can Clouds Buy Us More Time to Solve Climate Change?” and her Story Collider presentation, “Becoming a Genius.”
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Perspective  |  March 29, 2023
In addition to reducing carbon emissions, climate solutions like Conservation Agriculture, Nutrient Management, and Distributed Solar Photovoltaics can be combined to improve people’s food security, access to water and electricity, and income.
New IPCC report highlights urgent need to advance climate solutions and development simultaneously
by Daniel Jasper
Last week’s release of the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) synthesis report distills almost a decade of the latest climate science into an urgent, systemic call to action — imploring us to mobilize resources to tackle climate change and poverty at the same time if we are to ensure a just and sustainable future. Thankfully, climate mitigation solutions already exist for tackling both of these grand challenges of our time simultaneously.  The synthesis report shows that 1) global greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase despite international pledges and 2) we are almost out of time to limit warming to 1.5 ℃. Pathways still exist to avert breaching this level of warming. They will require a holistic approach that not only mitigates, adapts to, and accounts for loss and damages from climate change but also provides credible development pathways for low- and middle-income countries, a cornerstone of climate justice. The report also makes clear that mitigation activities will be necessary in both high-income and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There is an unequal burden placed on LMICs, recognizing that they have contributed the least to historical emissions. LMICs not only need to pursue mitigation and adaptation simultaneously, but they must also be able to align their necessary development with their climate goals. Ensuring LMICs have an accessible pathway to sustainable development is both a matter of climate justice as well as a preventive measure against exacerbating health issues and future loss and damages; as the report notes, those experiencing extreme poverty are the most vulnerable to climate hazards. With more than 700 million people experiencing extreme poverty worldwide, supporting locally-led mitigation and adaptation efforts must catapult to the top of the priority list for the global community. The 2022 IPCC summary report on mitigation, which the synthesis report drew upon, indicated that mitigation activities that were implemented “in the context of sustainable development, equity, and poverty eradication, and rooted in the development aspirations of the societies within which they take place, will be more acceptable, durable and effective.” In other words, climate and development must be addressed synergistically. A previous IPCC summary report on adaptation and vulnerability, another body of work that the synthesis report drew from, identified climate change as a significant barrier to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Not only does climate change limit available resources needed to achieve the SDGs, but currently communities and countries are experiencing climate-induced impacts to local infrastructure, livelihoods, health and resilience efforts. Climate vulnerable communities — which typically lack access to vital resources to prepare for and build back from disasters — increasingly face more severe and/or frequent extreme weather events that pose great challenges to their development.   The global community must begin prioritizing climate solutions that also address poverty and well-being in order to leverage the most secure footing for the future. Project Drawdown has identified 28 climate mitigation solutions with co-benefits in areas such as energy, food security, income and work, water and sanitation, health, gender equality, education, access to networks, housing, social equity, peace and justice, and political voice. These co-benefits will be essential to recognize in climate initiatives — especially in LMICs — to advance and achieve interconnected international goals such as those set out in the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. The 28 solutions include five key sectors: 1) improving agriculture and agroforestry, 2) protecting and restoring ecosystems, 3) adopting clean cooking, 4) providing clean electricity, and 5) fostering equality. In addition to the co-benefits listed above, these initiatives could reduce or sequester greenhouse gasses by 691.4 gigatons of CO2-eq over 30 years. Furthermore, these solutions are particularly applicable to rural communities in Africa and South Asia where 85 percent of the world’s population experiencing extreme poverty reside.  There is an enormous opportunity for properly designed and implemented policies for low-carbon and resilient growth that can also help address poverty and inequality, enabling people to live healthier, more prosperous lives. At its core, addressing climate, poverty, and human well-being simultaneously is a matter of climate justice. As defined by the Climate Justice Playbook, “climate justice means advancing climate solutions that link human rights and development in a human-centered approach, placing the needs, voices and leadership of those who are most impacted at the forefront.” Climate justice must be an integral part of a societal transition. We can no longer afford to take a siloed approach to mitigation, adaptation, development, and justice — they must all become part of a holistic, integrated approach. The latest AR6 synthesis report will be the last we hear of IPCC assessments until just two years before 2030. This report demands that we seize the opportunity to mobilize resources to address both climate and poverty immediately and urgently, as the challenges will only grow exponentially larger in the future. Implementing climate solutions with proven co-benefits for poverty alleviation and human well-being offers our best chance at achieving a sustainable and thriving future for current and future generations.
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Feature  |  March 21, 2023
Students in Lushoto, Tanzania care for seedlings at school.
Women leading climate action through agriculture, education, and health
by Carissa Patrone Maikuri
On March 9, Project Drawdown’s Drawdown Lift program hosted a lively discussion with the Clean Cooking Alliance about how women are leading on climate action and climate justice and implementing solutions that strengthen adaptation, boost human well-being, and mitigate future emissions. As a continuation of International Women’s Day, we embraced equity, focusing on two of the most defining challenges of our time—climate change and poverty. Watch the recording here.   Advancing gender equality is central to ensuring that our global community thrives and addresses the climate crisis. Women are problem solvers and central to guiding the world to reach drawdown, boosting resilience, and creating systemic change. Women must be represented in all levels of decision-making, and our agency—as leaders, activists, educators, and entrepreneurs—should not be underestimated. We also acknowledge our allies who continue to ensure that we have a seat at the table and that our voices are heard and valued.    Moderated by Wanjira Mathai, community builder and managing director of Africa & Global Partnerships with World Resources Institute, the event featured four amazing panelists who shared wisdom and tangible examples from the fields of agriculture, education, clean cooking, health, and climate justice. Panelists included: Makandi Laiboni, leader of the digital team for One Acre Fund’s Kenya’s program, Tupande, which designs and implements the organization’s digital vision and strategy directly for smallholder farmers. Natasha Lwanda, the former national chairperson of the CAMFED Association, who uses her intimate experience of poverty and exclusion to support vulnerable young women and girls to become influential change-makers in Zambia.  Patience Alifo, the co-founder of Econexus Ventures Limited, a Ghanaian-based biotechnology social enterprise commercializing sustainable biofuel and waste-to-energy production in Africa. Sohanur Rahman, the chief executive of a youth-led organization called Protiki Jubi Sangsad, or Bangladesh Model Youth Parliament, who also coordinates the largest youth network, YouthNet for Climate Justice, in Bangladesh. Each panelist had a different reason for why they were inspired to do the work they do, including experiencing extreme weather events and gender inequality firsthand, identifying major gender gaps that could lead to a pathway to prosperity, or advancing their personal commitments to give back to the community.  We know that climate change threatens decades of progress and exacerbates pre-existing inequities—particularly in countries most vulnerable to climate change who have contributed the least to it—but solutions are at hand. Building off Project Drawdown’s Climate-Poverty Connections report, panelists spoke to several of the 28 mitigation solutions that also substantially contribute to boosting human well-being, strengthening resilience, and alleviating poverty.
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News  |  March 13, 2023
woman in front of screen showing video game
How the gaming industry can tackle the climate crisis
by Aiyana Bodi
The private sector has a big role to play in implementing climate action. The solutions we need are not the flashy fixes we often see portrayed as panaceas: While things like offsets and carbon removal technologies play a role, they can be scientifically unsound and untimely. Instead, the private sector must focus on real, strategic, and systemic impact that goes beyond reducing their own emissions. The Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework provides valuable guidance for doing just that, bringing to light the political, social, and human capital businesses have to help the world achieve zero emissions. And now a good thing has gotten even better: With the help of business partner Unity, a real-time gaming development platform, and a working group of key industry experts, we’re proud to release Project Drawdown’s first industry-specific resource for climate action: A Drawdown-Aligned Framework for the Gaming Industry.  
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