Feature | January 6, 2023
Drawdown Stories: The year in review
In 2022, Drawdown Stories welcomed the world into a journey to “pass the mic” to the climate heroes who often go unheard and, in the process, invite people everywhere to tap into their unique “superpowers” to play a role in helping the world reach drawdown. Early in the year, I took the stage at the 2022 Planet Forward Summit, sponsored by organizations including National Geographic, Discovery, Comcast, Adobe, and Patagonia, to underscore why accelerating new, inclusive climate conversations isn’t only nice, but necessary. “I want to ask you to consider a question: As you navigate crisis, as you seek solutions, who and what are the voices that often aren’t represented in those conversations? Literally, look around you. Consider who is sitting next to you. If you’re on the livestream, consider who’s in the rooms with you or who you work with. What voices are represented, and who’s missing from those conversations? “Unfortunately, studies have shown that those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the climate crisis – Black communities, Indigenous communities, communities of color, low-income communities – are also often not represented in climate conversations or in rooms like this, and that’s a huge problem. In the spirit of navigating crisis and seeking solutions, we’re not taking that sitting down; we’re doing something about it and that’s what passing the mic is all about.” Reaching drawdown as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible requires that all communities – particularly those least represented – have a seat at the table and have a part in solutions. Recognizing the task at hand, Drawdown Stories serves to spread awareness, shape attitudes, and spark action for the broader climate community, including educators and their students, as well as other future climate leaders, through storytelling and engagement. This year, we made progress in a number of ways. We centered the voices that often go unheard in the popular climate solutions dialogue. In February 2022, at the start of Black History Month, Drawdown Stories hosted a virtual launch event for our program’s guiding principle of “Climate Solutions in Color” at the annual Great Northern Festival. We were joined by Clara Kitongo, program manager at the One Tree Per Child Program at Tree Pittsburgh; Ben Passer, senior program officer, Midwest climate and energy, at McKnight Foundation; Jacqui Patterson, founder and executive director of the Chisholm Legacy Project: A Resource Hub for Black Frontline Climate Justice Leadership and former senior director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program; and Jothsna Harris, founder of Change Narrative. Hosted live for hundreds in real time, the conversation underscored the need to welcome underrepresented voices in climate, not only to counteract historic and present disparities, but to welcome everyday “superpowers” of those who have often been left out of the conversation. We introduced the world to drawdown-aligned climate careers and solutions in action. Drawdown Labs highlights how every job can be a climate job and, through the work of Drawdown Stories in 2022, we showcased a diverse range of people in careers helping the world reach drawdown. The 20 change makers – in 20 unique roles showcasing the diversity of climate careers: Paige Anderson, project manager at the City of Pittsburgh, Department of Mobility and Infrastructure Blair Beasley, director of climate strategies at the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, working to support Drawdown Georgia Erica Cochran Hameen, PhD, architectural designer, professor, researcher, and director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture Alexis Cromer, food operations director at 412 Food Rescue Tylesha Giddings, technical project manager at Southface Adam Hicks, field manager at Concrete Jungle Tonya Hicks, founder and CEO of Power Solutions, and Founder of Women Do Everything Kendrick Kelsey, Reuse Center associate at Lifecycle Building Center Clara Kitongo, program coordinator, One Tree Per Child, at Tree Pittsburgh Angie Martinez, senior right-of-way manager at the City of Pittsburgh, Department of Mobility and Infrastructure Demetrius Milling, worker-owner at Love is Love Cooperative Farm Veni Mittal, (former) energy audits associate at Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh / community service chair at the Green Building Alliance Tom Mulholland, senior project manager at Grounded Strategies Robin Okunowo, program coordinator at Captain Planet Foundation's Planeteer Alliance Sarah Olexsak, manager of transportation electrification at Duquesne Light Company Steve Place, horticulturist at the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design Eri Saikawa, associate professor, Winship distinguished research professor of environmental sciences, and director of Emory Talks Climate at Emory University Shawn Taylor, crew leader at Landforce Richard Tumushime, head electrician at Energy Independent Solutions Brandon Walton, fleet manager with the City of Pittsburgh, Office of Management and Budget We equipped communities with stories and resources to spread awareness, shape attitudes, and spark action. While The Great Northern Festival was the official launch of Drawdown Stories’ work to “pass the mic,” it was later in the spring that we launched Drawdown’s Neighborhood, a climate solutions short documentary series featuring the stories of climate solutions heroes, city by city. The series began with stories from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and, in the fall, added stories from Atlanta, Georgia – centering stories of BIPOC, women, youth, and immigrant climate leaders. The Drawdown’s Neighborhood series is only beginning to achieve the impact it set out to have. To date, people from community organizations and other institutions in 30+ states have shared ways they plan to collectively engage more than 1 million people with Drawdown’s Neighborhood. Each series features learning and action resources, including offerings from ChangeX, Climate Generation, Ecochallenge.org, Solutions Journalism Network, and SubjectToClimate, as well as Project Drawdown resources like the Drawdown Labs Job Function Action Guides, Climate Solutions 101, and the Drawdown Solutions Library. We collaborated with platforms and communities alike to begin to “pass the mic.” This year, Drawdown Stories also contributed to a number of annual conferences and events hosted by Climate Generation, The Great Northern Festival, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the New England Aquarium, and Planet Forward. These collaborations resulted in tremendous reach, including downloads as part of National Geographic’s Overheard Podcast episode “The Greening of Pittsburgh” and more than 50,000 views hosting a show as part of Pinterest TV’s Climate Week show, “Real-World Climate Superheroes.” We also shared Drawdown Stories content and resources directly – through talks and workshops – with communities of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability Education (AASHE); California State Universities; Chabot College; Children’s Climate Championship; Club of Lisbon; the Design for Empathy Podcast; The George Washington University: Grand Valley State University: the HOPE, ACT, THRIVE podcast: Mass Audubon: the Mid-Atlantic Climate Change Education Conference: Pittsburgh Youth for Climate Action (hosted by Communitopia): SEI: Stanford University: The University of Maryland: and more. Locally, with the generous support of 7 Stages Theatre and Drawdown Georgia, we also hosted the very first of many Drawdown’s Neighborhood community launch events. This launch, for Drawdown’s Neighborhood: Atlanta, welcomed 150 community members including public and private sector leaders, climate professionals, environmental justice advocates, educators, faith-based organizers, and everyday climate heroes from a wide range of locally and nationally recognized institutions. We prepared to go even further in 2023. In the second half of 2022, Drawdown Stories welcomed a new storytelling coordinator and engagement coordinator, bolstering the impact of our work community by community. In addition to preparing to feature and share more stories, we began to explore exciting partnerships and editorial collaborations that will bear fruit in 2023. As we continue to build Drawdown Stories, we are excited for the impact of our work to blossom – providing people with a better understanding of the role climate solutions can play in their local communities and the science underlying those solutions; providing people with opportunities for deeper exploration and dialogue related to climate change and climate solutions; and providing people with relatable, relevant, inclusive stories and resources that enable them to help the world reach drawdown.
Profile | January 5, 2023
Drawdown Science profile: Paul West
This article is the first in a series introducing the new members of Project Drawdown’s science team. Paul West joined Drawdown Science as senior scientist, ecosystems & agriculture, in September 2022 after working part-time with Project Drawdown as director of special projects since January 2021. An applied ecologist, he focuses on identifying and amplifying co-benefits of climate solutions for conserving biodiversity, sustainably producing food, and enhancing the overall health of people and our planet. Before coming to Project Drawdown, Paul held leadership positions at the University of Minnesota and The Nature Conservancy. The Web of Science has named him one of the world’s most influential ecology and environmental researchers. In this interview, Paul shares his thoughts on the intersection of climate and food security, Mr. Rogers vs. Bill Nye The Science Guy, fresh pears, and more. Q: When people ask you what you do with Project Drawdown, what do you tell them? A: I’m helping find solutions to reduce our impact on climate and create a more just world. I bring scientific rigor to the conversation, assess how climate solutions also benefit people and nature, and work with others to effect change on the ground. Q: Why did you choose to join the Drawdown Science team? A: I like to be on the frontier of new science and I’m all about solutions. I’m also very practical. So Project Drawdown is a great fit for me. My work will focus on solutions that bring together my expertise and passion for reducing climate change, improving food security, and protecting nature. How do we meet all three goals? Who benefits and what are the trade-offs? Where are the hot spots that can help or hinder progress? What’s the path and who can help us reach the destination quickest? Q: Can you recall a childhood experience that relates to the work you’re doing today? A: When I was 8 or 9, we had a family friend who was passionate about hunting and fishing and hiking and such. He took me to a few places where there was a remnant prairie and talked to me about what most of that part of Illinois used to look like. It stuck with me just how much our landscape has changed. Q: What’s your favorite Drawdown Solution, and why? A: One is protection of tropical forests, because they store a whole bunch of carbon, are biodiversity hotspots, and are important areas for Indigenous peoples. Another is eliminating food waste, because it’s something everyone sees as a good idea. It’s something we’re able to do as individuals and something that has immediate impact and that we have influence over in our everyday lives. Q: What was the subject of your Ph.D. dissertation? A: I came up with new ways of quantifying how land use change, mainly from agricultural expansion and management, affects water availability and quality, habitat, and climate. Q: What superpowers do you bring to this job? A: Over time I’ve become more of a high-end generalist as compared to extremely good at a few things. That, in combination with being a systems thinker and curious, is a big one. I’m good at cutting through all the noise to find answers and doable actions. And I work well with others. Even though I’m a science guy, I’m more like Mr. Rogers than someone flashy like Bill Nye. Q: What gives you hope? A: There are so many more people, especially young people, these days who are very interested in climate change and are taking action or demanding action by others. Also, it gives me hope that we have most of the tools that are needed to solve most of the problems. Q: What is the most awesome thing you’ve encountered so far today? For breakfast I had a pear and some oatmeal, and there’s something about pears that I love. When I was a kid we had them out of tin and I didn’t like them. This time of year I love to have a fresh pear.
News | December 19, 2022
Drawdown Labs: The year in review
In 2022, Drawdown Labs called for much more expansive private sector climate action—raising the bar for corporate climate leadership, welcoming more people in to help bring about solutions, and helping shift more money toward climate action. As Project Drawdown executive director Jonathan Foley and Drawdown Labs director Jamie Alexander wrote in CNN Opinion this year: Bringing climate solutions into the world at scale requires that every part of the economy bring its superpower to bear: genuine business leadership moving markets, investors and philanthropists shifting capital, workers building solar panels and wind turbines, and cities and states making climate solutions a reality in the places we live and work. And all of this will be accelerated by community leaders, employees and activists keeping the pressure up and demanding accountability. Galvanizing bold climate action among these powerful global actors—and doing what we can to hold them accountable to their commitments—remains our mission at Drawdown Labs since we launched this experiment three years ago. This past year we were proud to make big moves toward this goal. Read on for highlights from 2022 and a sneak peek at our plans for the year ahead. We grew our community and expanded our reach: We welcomed new businesses Lyft, Etsy, and Askov Finlayson into the Drawdown Labs Business Consortium, expanding the base of businesses with ambition to align with the Drawdown-Aligned Business standard. We created a new type of partnership, welcoming five organizations as implementation partners to help our business network reach the standards we’ve set out in the Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework: Carbon Collective, Doughnut Economics Action Lab, Evergreen Action, Rewiring America, and Seneca Solar. We reached a new audience, business school students at the University of Colorado–Boulder, with a new course on the Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework. We learned from the expertise of our two senior fellows, Chidi Oti Obihara and Sarah Frias-Torres, who spent the year with us doing important research on how Project Drawdown’s climate solutions can help shift the flow of capital to climate solutions. We used our platform to hold leaders accountable and call for faster action: Drawdown Labs director Jamie Alexander called on President Biden on Al Jazeera to declare a climate emergency, unlocking more resources to help scale climate solutions. We played a key role in mobilizing business support for what became the Inflation Reduction Act, including by placing a full-page ad in the New York Times—seen by over 4 million readers—reminding the world that we have the solutions to the climate crisis and that leading businesses support strong federal climate policy. In a fiery discussion between Jason Jacobs and Jamie Alexander on the My Climate Journey podcast, we helped open up a new conversation about some of the tensions and double standards that exist in the climate solutions space, igniting important discussions and helping all of us see ourselves on the same team. We held our business partners to a high standard, and publicly called on them to step up when they fail to meet our expectations. We leveled up corporate climate leadership to a new Drawdown-Aligned standard: We gathered an all-star lineup of climate experts and advocates in a webinar to press business leaders on robust climate policy advocacy. To accelerate work in another key area of leverage, investments and finance, we also organized two webinars on decarbonizing corporate cash and greening 401(k)s to show that cash is not climate neutral. Senior associate Julian Kraus-Polk wrote for GreenBiz that companies must consider their financed emissions if they are to help curb the climate crisis. Understanding that each company and industry has a “climate superpower,” we brought together a group of experts to crosswalk the Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework with the gaming industry, utilizing its extensive reach to explore how it can go beyond operational “net zero” and level up climate impact. Recognizing the world’s need to rapidly shift capital away from carbon-intensive activities and toward climate solutions, we worked to expand upon a new work stream focused on the role of finance. We brought on two senior fellows to kick-start this work by researching key climate finance and philanthropic strategies. And we laid the groundwork for a 2023 launch of a new network of investors and philanthropists who will work with us to better align funding decisions with strategic climate solutions. We equipped employees with tools and inspiration to take climate action at work: We are proud to be doubling down on our call to action: Every job is a climate job. To help bring this idea to life, this year we dug deeper into what that means and how we can help bring that rallying cry to life. We released Job Function Action Guides for seven common corporate job functions, highlighting the climate actions that individuals in these roles can implement at work. We connected thousands of employees with the action guides via social media, newsletters, presentations, and podcasts; the action guides are currently being used at companies across tech, manufacturing, food, and other industries. We partnered with Terra.do to provide a deeper insight into what it means to apply a climate lens to your current role. Jamie was a guest on the A Matter of Degrees podcast to discuss how individuals can take climate action at work. Senior associate Aiyana Bodi discussed the creation of the action guides for Work on Climate. We told employee stories, from those deeply engaging their customers and communities, to employees working beyond their job description—all in the pursuit of climate action. And so much more on our YouTube channel. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page to stay in the loop on the work we have in store in 2023.
News | December 14, 2022
Drawdown Lift: The year in review
2022 was a busy year for Drawdown Lift, which focuses on promoting climate solutions that generate multiple benefits for poverty alleviation. From publishing a first-of-its-kind report to meeting with officials and civil society leaders and presenting at COP27, Drawdown Lift bridged important gaps between the climate and sustainable development fields. Here are the highlights. In March, the Drawdown Lift team published a landmark report, Climate–Poverty Connections: Opportunities for synergistic solutions at the intersection of planetary and human well-being. The report provides concrete evidence of how climate change solutions can contribute to alleviating multiple dimensions of poverty in rural communities in Africa and South Asia. The report highlights 28 climate solutions that leaders and practitioners in low- and middle-income countries can prioritize as they address climate impacts, advance sustainable development, and pursue renewable energy pathways. The report was presented to a wide range of climate experts and climate-focused development professionals representing climate finance institutions, multilateral and bilateral development institutions, philanthropies, impact investors, NGOs, and more. Officials, civil society leaders, and climate experts across the world lauded the usefulness and timeliness of the report. “The findings outlined in the report are really important to our work,” remarked Mikko Ollikainen, head of the UNFCCC’s Adaptation Fund, “as they delineate the interconnections between climate solutions, the improvements of livelihoods, and other benefits, and therefore advance the well-being of the communities that we serve.” Similarly, Moffatt Ngugi, natural resources officer with USAID/Mozambique and Lift Advisory Council member, commented that the report contains “integrated work that we all need to know about.” Monica Jain, lead evaluation specialist for the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and former Lift Advisory Council member, noted that “this is a massive evidence review highlighting the co-benefits of climate mitigation solutions and human well-being. It can guide policymakers, funders, and researchers for future investments.” Following the report’s publication, the Drawdown Lift team embarked on a fast-paced (mostly virtual) tour promoting the findings and recommendations. Throughout the year, the team had more than 60 public and media engagements and wrote 20 articles and op-eds, in addition to producing a high-level analysis of Nationally Determined Contributions in eight African countries. Interviews and quotes from the team appeared in outlets such as Al Jazeera, Scientific American, The Revelator, The Drop, Atmos Magazine, and Tree Speech podcast, among others. Additionally, Drawdown Lift summarized the report in a short video that was screened during several presentations for climate professionals. The team also worked to ensure the results of Lift’s work are actionable for climate-focused public and private decision-makers. Drawdown Lift staff held approximately 40 meetings with external stakeholders, including the Adaptation Fund, Global Environment Facility, World Bank, USAID, Save the Children, the Gates Foundation, Stewart Investors, International Gender Champions, and many more. Through meetings and presentations, we continue to raise awareness for climate solutions that can help address the world’s climate and poverty crises simultaneously. These efforts culminated at COP27, where program staff and some Lift Advisory Council members presented at side events and met with key stakeholders, including ministry officials from Pakistan, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Uganda, and Tanzania as well as representatives from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the International Water Management Institute, and Arizona State University. Drawdown Lift director Kristen P. Patterson spoke on a panel hosted by the World Resources Institute titled “Fast-Action Mitigation to Slow Warming in this Decisive Decade.” The Lift team also organized a panel discussion at the Locally Led Adaptation pavilion. That event, “Triple impact: Prioritizing climate solutions that advance adaptation, mitigation, and poverty alleviation,” featured speakers from BRAC, One Acre Fund, Save the Children, and USAID. This year, Drawdown Lift also welcomed a new member of the team, Daniel Jasper, to serve as a policy advisor, and added new members to its Advisory Council: Rajib Ghosal (regional senior technical advisor, climate change, Save the Children, Asia-Pacific) and Cheikh Mbacké Faye (director, African Population and Health Research Center, West Africa Regional Office). As we look ahead to 2023, our ultimate objective remains clear—to convince the world that we don’t have to choose between addressing climate change and alleviating poverty. As Patterson says, “We must prioritize climate solutions that generate substantial benefits for well-being to boost equity and usher in prosperity for populations least responsible for the climate crisis in Africa and South Asia.” In the year ahead, we plan to host a number of high-level webinars, private convenings, and public events and will continue to share additional research on climate solutions that also alleviate poverty. We invite you to stay tuned for these events, articles, and much more via the Project Drawdown newsletter.
Perspective | December 12, 2022
We need to move faster on climate. Here’s how.
These are exciting times for those of us working to put the brakes on climate change. We have been saying it for years—it’s both possible and necessary to stem the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—and climate solutions are finally starting to get the attention they deserve. Renewables are overtaking fossil fuels as the energy source of choice. Lawmakers are recognizing and responding to the urgent need to apply resources to stabilizing our climate. Around the world, we’re seeing an uptick in adoption of virtually every one of Project Drawdown’s climate solutions. But is this enough? With atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations now over 420 parts per million, our window of opportunity is starting to close. To avoid climate catastrophe, we need to head in the right direction as quickly, efficiently, and equitably as we can. And that means being strategic about every bit of time, energy, and funding we put into adopting climate solutions. To that end, Project Drawdown is embarking on a bold new three-pronged vision over the next three years. First, we are accelerating the deployment of climate solutions by setting science-based priorities for climate action—across sectors, timescales, and geographies—to make more rapid and efficient progress. In addition, we are identifying powerful co-benefits of climate solutions—to improve health, well-being, and equity—that can accelerate and enhance action. And we are considering multiple levers to scale climate solutions—including changes in policy, capital flows, business models, technology, and behavior. Second, we are accelerating new leadership by connecting changemakers—business leaders, investors, philanthropists, development officials, and more—with science-derived strategies to ensure climate solutions scale as quickly and equitably as possible. Third, we are accelerating new conversations, “passing the mic” to climate heroes who often go unheard and shifting the focus from problems to solutions and from doom and gloom to opportunity and possibility. And we’re drilling home the idea that everyone stands to benefit from drawdown—and everyone has a vital part to play in achieving it. We’re proud of the contributions we’ve made to solving climate change by identifying what the world needs to do. Our job now is to delineate how best to do it so we can achieve the change needed in the time allowed.
December 9, 2022
To lead on climate action, engage ALL of your employees
We are reaching an important juncture within the corporate climate landscape. In a recent Deloitte survey of over 2,000 C-suite executives, 97 percent said “their companies have already been negatively impacted by climate change,” yet only 19 percent of these companies were identified as “leaders” in sustainability. At the same time, climate change solutions are proving to be beneficial to business: Companies that take climate action seriously see more revenue per employee compared to the average—and those that don’t, see below average revenues. Climate change is becoming increasingly top of mind for companies, but—despite the clear business value of being a sustainability leader—only a small portion of them are taking the necessary actions. To remedy the disconnect between concern and action, we must redefine the standard for corporate climate leadership while also broadening who is involved in helping reach this standard. Companies have enormous social, political, and financial leverage—and the obligation to use it. Last year, Drawdown Labs—Project Drawdown’s private sector testing ground for going beyond “net zero”—introduced a new framework for corporate sustainability, showing that businesses, through things like policy advocacy and reevaluating financial relationships, can positively impact climate beyond reducing their own direct emissions. The key to reaching this elevated standard for climate action starts with expansive engagement of employees. Employees represent a range of skills and knowledge that can scale solutions in the workplace and beyond. To deploy solutions that match the magnitude of the climate crisis, we will need everyone—and in the corporate context, this means sustainability can no longer be the purview of leadership or sustainability teams only. Every job needs to become a climate job. Drawdown Labs recently published seven Job Function Action Guides focused on common corporate job functions to help leadership and employees implement solutions across the board. By understanding how ubiquitous corporate teams have opportunities at their fingertips to implement climate solutions into their responsibilities, decision-makers can spread climate action throughout their organizations for more effective, meaningful, and long-term impact. Below we overview three powerful actions your finance, human resources, government relations, legal, marketing, procurement, and sales teams can take. Visit the Job Function Action Guides web page for many more actions and further information. FINANCE Banking Direct decision-makers toward banks that are: minimally financing the fossil fuel industry and deforestation; shifting their financing to climate solutions; committing to aggressive anti-fossil fuel policies; and calculating their financed emissions. Insurance Inform insurance brokers that the company wants to consider not only policies and pricing during each insurance renewal, but also the sustainability of insurance carriers. Employee retirement benefits Team up with the human resources and operations team to evaluate whether retirement plans, 401(k)s, and other portfolios are invested in fossil fuels—and if they are, working to shift the default retirement option to a climate-safe one. GOVERNMENT RELATIONS AND PUBLIC POLICY Policy and regulation Increase transparency about how the company spends political contributions and lobbying dollars, and allocate more dollars to lobbying in support of climate policy. Public support Work with the marketing and communications teams to develop effective communications strategies and campaigns to publicly support climate legislation. Trade associations Assess the trade associations the company belongs to and encourage these associations to lobby in support of climate action. HUMAN RESOURCES AND OPERATIONS Benefits Offer employees financial support for their own individual climate action, such as renewable energy purchasing and low-carbon transportation. Recruitment and professional development Integrate climate and sustainability requirements and metrics into job descriptions, objectives and key results, and performance reviews and bonuses. Workplace culture Foster a work culture where employees feel comfortable and are able to bring up climate concerns, creating consistent pathways and forums for employees to provide feedback to leadership.
Feature | December 2, 2022
Carrying on the COP27 conversation
Three members of the Drawdown Lift team traveled to COP27 in November to represent Project Drawdown and promote climate solutions that generate tangible co-benefits for human well-being. Lift team members participated in and organized panel presentations; engaged with three Lift Advisory Council members, one Project Drawdown Board member, and multiple collaborating organizations; and met with leaders from several country delegations, including Bangladesh, Niger, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The team published three articles during and after COP27 that highlight different aspects of the conversations and key outcomes from the meeting, particularly around the topics of climate justice, gender equality, and loss and damage, all of which are relevant for Drawdown Lift's work. In “Project Drawdown: COP27 must answer calls for accelerated action and climate justice,” Drawdown Lift program coordinator Carissa Patrone Maikuri called for an end to “siloed thinking.” Instead, she wrote at Race to Resilience, we must “address multiple global crises together” with the well-being of people and planet front and center. “Beyond 8 billion: Focus on women, not population, for reproductive and climate justice,” centers the role of gender equity in climate solutions. “We need to turn away from dramatic headlines about the number of people on the planet and instead focus on the actual issue driving the continued rise of humans on Earth—a lack of rights, for women and girls in particular,” I wrote in the piece, which published at Race to Resilience on November 14, the day for which gender was the COP27 theme. “COP27: Balancing historic decisions and alarming shortcomings,” by Patrone Maikuri and Drawdown Lift research manager Yusuf Jameel, gave a shoutout to “a first small, yet symbolic, step” the international conference took to advance climate justice: creating a mechanism for paying for climate-related losses encumbered by countries most affected by, yet often least responsible for, climate change. I invite and encourage you to check out these thoughtful essays as you consider how you personally, and we as a society, might work to redress injustices while building a more secure future for ourselves and generations to come.
Perspective | November 22, 2022
Seven key takeaway messages from COP27
Project Drawdown engaged with myriad colleagues and partner institutions from around the world at COP27. We are pleased to share these reflections from Drawdown Lift’s director, Kristen P. Patterson, who leads our work to prioritize climate change solutions that generate multiple benefits for boosting well-being, strengthening resilience, and contributing to poverty alleviation. The annual United Nations climate meeting wrapped up recently in Egypt. As we reflect upon the summit, I would like to share seven thoughts about #COP27, with an eye towards three topics that are critical for a just and equitable future for all—climate justice, gender equality, and emergency brake solutions. 1) Loss and damage - High income countries arrived at COP27 like my teenager with headphones on—clueless about what the rest of the world had been saying for months, namely that wealthy countries must set up a fund to deal with climate impacts like floods and droughts in low-and middle-income countries. The world hasn’t acted quickly enough on mitigation, nor on adaptation, so now we must add reparations to the mix. Major kudos to the negotiators, including government staff as well as NGO representatives, from developing countries who achieved this outcome. Yes, agreeing to create a fund (akin to the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund) is just a first step. But it's an important one. 2) Women's leadership - We should all be in awe of Sherry Rehman, Pakistan's minister for climate change, who I was honored to have met briefly at COP27. She led a group of 134 (!) countries that negotiated the loss and damage outcome. Having more women in the halls of COP27 and at the negotiation table is critical. 3) Gender equality - We desperately need the skills of all women to solve the climate crisis—regardless of whether they are from rural or urban areas, or are rich or poor. Imagine if women had been more prominent in climate negotiations or held more leadership positions over the past three decades. As we mark the 8 billion milestone this month, full bodily autonomy, reproductive rights, and quality universal education are in fact key pillars of climate justice and adaptation; we can and should do more to integrate reproductive rights into climate. 4) Methane - Curbing methane—a fast-acting GHG that is responsible for nearly 45 percent of current net warming (0.5 C out of 1.1C)—is absolutely essential. We need to act decisively to reduce methane by 30% by 2030. By winning the sprint on methane, we give ourselves a bit more time to complete the marathon on other long-acting GHGs like carbon dioxide by 2050.
News | November 17, 2022
Discover your inner climate superhero
Drawdown’s Neighborhood, presented by Project Drawdown, is a series of short documentaries featuring the stories of climate solutions heroes, city by city. We are extremely excited to share with you that the series’ second edition—Drawdown’s Neighborhood: Atlanta—is now available online! We invite you to join host and Project Drawdown director of storytelling and engagement Matt Scott on a journey to “pass the mic” to nine climate heroes whose stories often go unheard, and elevate climate action—and stories about careers, race, gender, sexuality, mental health, personal and community resilience, family, and more—in the process. The series’ second round of documentary shorts showcases the Atlanta, Georgia, which played a pivotal role in the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and today maintains a strong global reputation for social activism, cultural diversity, and economic innovation. In its climate action plan, the City of Atlanta has recognized the need for change, acknowledging “the risk that climate change poses” and asserting that “local action is needed to reduce the City of Atlanta’s contribution to the problem of climate change and adapt to its current and future effects.” In response to the impacts of climate change, people from all over the city are mobilizing to fuel a green future – leveraging Atlanta’s innovative spirit and rich tradition of civic engagement to achieve much-needed change. This series showcases the diverse “Neighborhood” of people working in Atlanta and surrounding communities to help the world reach drawdown, the future point when levels of greenhouse gases start to steadily decline. Each story serves as a bridge between climate solutions and people like you looking to tap into their own superpowers to stop climate change. The Drawdown’s Neighborhood short documentaries touch on a range of themes used to inspire action. Themes include pathways to climate careers; collaboration across silos, including geographies, sectors, and ideologies; diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice; hope and opportunity; individual action paired with systems change; and personal and community resilience. The nine stories from Atlanta center the voices of women, Black people, people of color, immigrants, and others who are often not represented in the climate dialogue and yet are commonly most immediately and severely vulnerable to the impacts of climate catastrophe. You’ll find your superpower with Demetrius Milling, whose work with the Love is Love Cooperative Farm propels a vision for a just, healthy, and sustainable world powered by local community collaboration—a model to be replicated as we build the future. You’ll turn the page and embrace change with Adam Hicks, who simultaneously fights food insecurity and climate change by diverting food waste from farms to help the local community access fresh fruits and vegetables—helping to draw down climate emissions while addressing hunger through millions of servings of fruits and vegetables made accessible via donations to local food banks and shelters. You’ll ask questions and find answers with Blair Beasley, who supports research for Drawdown Georgia, a first-of-its-kind, state-centered initiative to crowd-solve for climate change by focusing on five high-impact climate solutions areas of electricity, transportation, buildings and materials, food and agriculture, and land sinks to drastically cut carbon emissions. The series also includes: Eri Saikawa, Research Professor of Environmental Sciences at Emory University Kendrick Kelsey, Reuse Center Associate at the Lifecycle Building Center Robin Okunowo, Program Coordinator with Captain Planet Foundation’s Planeteer Alliance Steve Place, Horticulturist II with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design Tonya Hicks, President and CEO of Power Solutions Inc. Tylesha Giddings, Technical Project Manager at Southface Institute Feeling inspired? To unleash your inner climate superhero, visit Drawdown’s Neighborhood to discover solutions and take action today.
News | November 15, 2022
Project Drawdown launches world-class science team
Four world-class researchers are joining Project Drawdown as inaugural members of our new science team. Their mission: to advance the science of how to effectively implement climate solutions; to advance the public discourse on climate solutions; and to collaborate with leading companies, funders, and organizations to accelerate action to quickly, safely, and equitably halt climate change. The four, James Gerber, Ph.D.; Kate Marvel, Ph.D.; Amanda D. Smith, Ph.D.; and Paul West, Ph.D., will join Project Drawdown over the next four months. The team members will conduct frontline research on critical topics related to climate solutions, helping Project Drawdown build roadmaps for their implementation. They also will serve as public-facing subject matter experts on climate solutions, providing thought leadership to inform science-based decisions by policymakers, investors, philanthropists, corporate leaders, and others around the world.