Collier and Lee Counties Edition

Real Solutions For Climate Change

Florida Gulf Coast University Hosts Paul Hawken

For Paul Hawken, author and leading environmental entrepreneur working with a coalition of more than 200 research fellows, advisors and expert reviewers, the climate goal is the reversal of global warming. The editor of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Hawken will speak at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) on October 22 to inspire interest in the 100 most substantive solutions that already exist to achieve drawdown, the point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peaks and begins to decline on a year-to-year basis. The FGCU Department of Integrated Studies, the Center for Environmental & Sustainability Education and the Department of Marine and Ecological Science are hosting the event along with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Pachamama Alliance of Southwest Florida.

While many individuals are caught up in mainstream media’s “catastrophsizing of the future” with gloom and doom “game over” stories that sensationalize hurricanes, typhoons, flooding, sea level rise, drought, and fires that are all connected to the 408 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Hawken goes about the business of offsetting that message with encouraging stories about solutions. His “game on” presentations are sprinkled with how Drawdown’s climate and financial models, which are ranked by their results in the sequestering of carbon, net cost and net savings through the year 2050, are being used now.

“For every 80 articles written about the interruption of the Earth’s climate, 78 are about game over and what’s wrong, which creates fear and produces passivity and numbness, turning people off. We can’t solve a problem by describing it in detail over and over. The public needs to hear, watch and read stories about individuals, groups, churches, impact investors, communities, corporations, schools, towns, cities and universities that are doing the things that are making a difference,” says Hawken, an eloquent voice who speaks for the Earth’s climate, as well as humanity.

Hawken’s mastery of the subject and eloquence have the power to stir compassion, deepen understanding and make it clear that global warming is an atmospheric transformation that can inspire us to change and reimagine everything we make and do. “We can see it as something happening to us and think of ourselves as victims, or we can see it as something happening for us; an invitation to build, innovate and effect change—a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion and genius,” advises Hawken.

For proof that the solutions in Drawdown are engaging people all over the world to do extraordinary things to reverse global warming, we only need to look to the number of the book’s translations in 15 months. “It’s now in 11 languages. The most recent translations are Korean and Dutch, with Japanese soon to follow. I believe this is due to humanity’s deep hunger for knowing about and understanding of doable solutions that they can participate in. This is not what is being shown in the media,” notes Hawken.

Perhaps comparable to an organically grown, in-depth climate solution encyclopedia, intended to be edited by volunteers throughout the world, The Drawdown website (Drawdown.org) is expanding. Modeled after nature, which is self-organizing and based on whole systems, it will allow for continued research, additional vetted solutions and welcome contributions such as YouTube videos, documentaries and reading lists. “There will be different ways that individuals can promote and support actions that engender solutions. Drawdown doesn’t belong to any one person. It’s a ‘we’ project,” advises Hawken, who is working on Drawdown 2.0, planned for release by Earth Day 2020.

For information on Paul Hawken’s Drawdown: Real Solutions for Climate Change presentation on Oct. 22 at 3 pm in The Cohen Center Ballroom on the FGCU campus, email MRoca@FGCU.edu or JDrummond@FGCU.edu.

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