Drawdown, the Evocco Eco Book Review premiere
And it’s here! The first Evocco Eco Book Review for you, and just in time to order it for Christmas. Our first book to review is Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global Warming. It’s a seminal piece, and one that we think should be in every household across the country. Statement. If you’re looking to educate yourself on climate breakdown and the solutions to it, let this book be your proverbial bible. At Evocco, we hear three main reasons that people find it difficult to learn more about the climate crisis.
Firstly, the topic is immense. It touches every aspect of the natural world and of our modern society, making it very hard to know where to start.
Second, the information is often presented in scientific journals that aren’t written for public reading. Reports are by scientists for scientists and unless you’ve a PhD it can be hard to understand. For the most part, the media isn’t doing its job communicating these scientific findings to the public, leaving those of us who actively seek information trying to break an enigma code of acronyms and jargon just to find out how many seconds we are from midnight on the Doomsday clock.
That brings us on to the final barrier, information about the climate crisis is primarily focused on problems rather than solutions. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that a deep understanding of the seriousness of the crisis is necessary for us to act with the urgency required to address it, but I also believe each problem needs to be accompanied by a solution if it’s to spark action. Drawdown helps the reader overcome each of these challenges. Editor Paul Hawken and his illustrious team of climate scientists have compiled the 100 most impactful solutions to global warming and presented them in an easily accessible way. Grouped by sector and numbered in terms of impact, the reader gets a chance to explore a wonderful world of possibilities and learns how change in every part of society is not just required to tackle the climate crisis but will also bring a myriad of other benefits. Who doesn’t want to reduce food waste so we can limit methane emissions and end world hunger at the same time (Big Ag, I hear you say, but you know what I mean)? Who doesn’t want to promote conservation agriculture so we can see the return of wildlife to our countryside (again, probably Big Ag, but let’s move on)? Importantly, Drawdown walks the tightrope between individual action and system change with ease. Having a mix of both is hugely important, as we need easy access points for each of us to take climate action while not taking our eyes off the prize of system change. Big industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to the state of our planet and delayed climate action. One of its nastiest ploys has been to position climate action as something that has to be solved at an individual level rather than a system level. This was laid bare when ecocidal fossil fuel ogre Shell recently tweeted: “What are you willing to change to help reduce emissions?” It’s Orwellian to think that a company with a vested interest in keeping the fossil fuel industry alive in perpetuity would tell us the best way to save our planet is to remember to turn the lights off. Maybe turn the oil wells off, like right now, Shell. Thanks. In Drawdown, the solutions span what needs to change on a system level, but also what we can change ourselves. For example, a whopping 17 solutions are proposed for how we can transition the energy system away from fossil fuels. Most of these aren’t changes that we can make personally, but ones we need to push our elected representatives to prioritise. The changes that we can make as individuals are right up there with the most impactful solutions. Switching to plant rich diets is listed as the fourth most impactful solution and something that we can all build into our lives. As well as reducing the emissions of your diet by up to 70%, a plant rich diet brings a multitude of public health benefits. Drawdown cites a 2016 study that estimates $1 trillion can be saved in healthcare costs and lost productivity through the widespread adoption of a plant rich diet.
Perhaps what’s most striking about Drawdown is not the vast array of solutions proposed, but the fact that each of the solutions is already in existence. The impact of each of them has been proven scientifically and the only thing that needs to happen is for the solutions to be scaled up so their impact can be multiplied. This left me feeling a mixture of both hope and frustration. Hope, because we already have the solutions we need to avert the climate crisis. Frustration, because the world literally burns as governments and business leaders sit on their hands and say that the only solution is business as usual.
So, a final word. Drawdown is a robust scientific analysis on what needs to be done to avert climate catastrophe presented in an accessible and engaging manner. It focuses on solutions, including ones that we can take on ourselves and ones that we need to encourage our leaders to implement. It’s not a book that you’ll read cover to cover, more one you’ll leave on the coffee table and flick through or reference when you’ve a question about climate. One thing that’s guaranteed is that you will come across some unusual and innovative solutions that you hadn’t thought of before and you’ll see tangential links between topics you might not have thought were intertwined. It captures the big picture on climate change remarkably well, laying a foundation of knowledge for the reader and helping dispel any climate myths and misconceptions. This book is 10/10. It’s effectively a plan for the rest of the century and a must read for anybody planning on spending that time on this planet.