Video: Paul Hawken of Project Drawdown Speaks at UC Berkeley On Food and Climate

If you haven’t heard of Project Drawdown, you must go check it out because it is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. A diverse group of researchers from around the world came together to identify, research, and model the 100 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change.

Paul Hawken was the leader of Project Drawdown and he was a guest speaker at the March 7 session of the Edible Education 101 class at UC Berkeley to talk about Food and Climate. Jump in at the 12:45 minute mark for Paul’s intro.

Of particular interest here at The Flexi 21 is that in the Project Drawdown list the #4 out of 100 most impactful things we all can do to help stop climate change is to eat a plant-rich diet. From their summary:

“If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

According to a 2016 study, business-as-usual emissions could be reduced by as much as 70 percent through adopting a vegan diet and 63 percent for a vegetarian diet, which includes cheese, milk, and eggs.”

It’s pretty amazing to see just how much the Western meat-centric diet impacts climate change. Also of interest included in the Drawdown plant-rich diet summary:

  • $1 trillion in annual health-care costs and lost productivity would be saved.
  • Ending price-distorting government subsidies benefiting the U.S. livestock industry would more accurately reflect the true cost and prices of animal protein.

If you want to geek out, Project Drawdown also includes a technical summary of how they came to their conclusions.

The biggest thing I agreed with Paul in his talk was that the reason he thinks there isn’t more traction and momentum around climate change from consumers is that the overall messages used in the climate change narrative utilizes negative language, and imagery that most people cannot comprehend.

Exactly. The climate change story is centered around too much geekery. The talk is mostly about the gases  Carbon, Methane, and Nitrogen Oxide which you cannot see and starts sounding more like we’re back in science class.

Also using the 2 degrees Celsius danger marker works mostly on people who fear future existential threats. Realistically, most people behave according to the now, their immediate needs, and are less concerned about the future or next generations. Sadly IMHO.

The climate change story should focus more on addressing current human needs, and the narrative needs to be more about things that humans can actually relate to like drought, hurricanes, pollution, and resource depletion. Things that can be seen, touched, and felt.

I also agree that we have to change the climate change narrative to one that is more empowering and based on love than fear. What that story is, I have no idea, but I’m happy to help join in the discussion. Project Drawdown is great because it’s a simple list of easily understood action items.

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