(A summary of the Project Drawdown presentation at the Sebastopol Carbon Conversation on September 4, 2019)

By Pauline Allen [posted September 18, 2019]

On September 4th more than 80 people gathered at the Sebastopol Grange to hear Crystal Chissell of Project Drawdown speak at the first Sebastopol Carbon Conversation, a series of talks on climate solutions hosted by The Rahus Institute, The Sebastopol Grange, and 350 Sonoma. Project Drawdown, a non-profit born in Sausalito California in 2014, has created an ongoing research collaboration to model solutions that go beyond merely halting the increase of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere and go one step further to drawdown those atmospheric GHGs, thereby reversing global warming. After reading Drawdown The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global Warming, or reading about these solutions on Project Drawdown’s website people feel hopeful in a way that they don’t typically when talking about climate change. Another unique aspect of Project Drawdown’s work is that it includes sectors not typically considered when talking about solutions to the climate crisis, such as gender equity and food systems. Chissell shared that of top 20 Drawdown solutions 12 are about food systems and land use, so we don’t need a technological fix; we need to live in better cooperation with the earth. 

Since 2017 when the Drawdown book came out, Project Drawdown has continued to strive for comprehensive research, building new partnerships, and inspiring change. Chissell pointed out that to be really comprehensive the continued research would look at solutions such as reducing consumption, peace, and an equitable and just transition; however there isn’t data available for these yet. Excitedly, Chissell shared that new research which will be released soon includes ocean solutions. Project Drawdown has partnered with Penn State University, which offered a scholar program this summer and is hosting the first Drawdown Conference, called Research to Action: the Science of Drawdown.

“The era of the hero is over. There is no one solution or one organization that will fix the climate crisis. All the drawdown solutions are important because they are designed as a system.”

Drawdown is a great resource for educators around the globe. Local teachers have found that it is a great tool for students to start their own research projects and design climate solutions for their school community. To share ideas for teaching climate solutions, teachers in Sonoma County have begun meeting in the Teach Climate Soco group. Nationally, Drawdown Learn is hosting their second annual Drawdown Learn Conference for educators in New York on October 18-20th.

In Bamenda, Cameroon, one man was inspired to share Drawdown solutions. He recruited a team of volunteers to educate people about these solutions in urban and rural areas. He’s estimated that they have engaged with about 10,000 people. With agriculture employing 70% of the population in Bamenda and  poor education for girls, the solutions that are most appealing here are afforestation, regenerative agriculture, educating women and girls, reducing food waste, and forest protection. 

Project Drawdown was asked to sponsor a booth at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair. The man that hosted the booth shared that many people in Zimbabwe believe in climate change since cyclone Idai hit in March. They are already implementing many Drawdown solutions including; reducing food waste, family planning, educating girls, regenerative agriculture, rooftop solar, afforestation, conservation agriculture, clean cookstoves, led lights, water saving, recycling, and eating a plant-rich diet. With a smile, Chissell shared that this is a great example to keep things in perspective; we may find it difficult to cut emissions or change our behavior, meanwhile in one of the poorest countries in the world some of the people who have contributed the least to global emissions and are feeling the effects the most, have already implemented myriad solutions.  

Drawdown is meant to be a starting point, a shift in the climate crisis conversation from despair to reality based hope. There is work to be done at every level– individual, community, national, global– beginning with informing ourselves and others, then implemented solutions. An example of Drawdown inspiration at the city level is the City of Cincinnati, which looked at Drawdown solutions when revising their Green Cincinnati Plan. All of the Drawdown solutions exist, yet they still need politics to support their implementation, which is why it is important to continue communicating with your representatives. 

What steps should we take going forward? Chissell again emphasized the importance of cooperation. “The era of the hero is over.” There is no one solution or one organization that will fix the climate crisis. All the drawdown solutions are important because they are designed as a system. We should inform ourselves. Visit drawdown.org. Read the actual text of the Green New Deal resolution. Find someone to work on this with and hold each other accountable. Join a group. Join a movement. Be willing to change your attitude and behavior. 
Visit solarschoolhouse.org/sebastopolcarbonconversations to see the schedule for upcoming Sebastopol Carbon Conversation talks

Sebastopol Carbon Conversations presents….

An Introduction to Drawdown, with Crystal Chissell

September 4th, 2019. 7:30pm
@ Sebastopol Grange. FREE

The Workshop…

“At Project Drawdown, we seek to change the discourse of
the climate crisis from fear, confusion, and conflict to solutions,
possibility, and opportunities to create the future we want”

Through comprehensive research and analysis, Project Drawdown has ranked the top 100 solutions to reversing global warming based on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction potential.  All of these solutions are in place today. The solutions range from the technological (such as renewable energy, electrification of transportation, energy-efficient building practices, etc.) with Earth-based methods of carbon drawdown (such as planting trees, preserving existing forests and practicing regenerative agriculture). At this workshop, and future Sebastopol Carbon Conversations, we’ll ask ourselves ‘What can we, as individuals and collectively, do about Climate Change. In the process, we’ll discover roles for ourselves in shaping a better future.

This workshop will provide the foundation for our future carbon conversations as we look closer into the many solutions.

To Learn more and to register…

About Sebastopol Carbon Conversations

Sebastopol Carbon Conversations is hosted by The Rahus Institute and Sebastopol Grange.  The series takes a closer look at the many solutions for reversing global warming as presented in Project Drawdown  and other sources. We’ll learn from local organizations that are working on Climate solutions in agriculture, renewable energy, reducing waste, empowering women, transportation, building design, carbon sequestration, and more.   Through this exploration, we’ll discover where we each can take small to large steps, help shape a better future, and still enjoy the day (smile, get a good night’s sleep, dance, sing, play music). To Learn more and to Check out the Fall 2019 Schedule

As a potential film for your class, to introduce climate science and solutions…

View the Trailer on HBO. [click image below]

Produced by Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, George DiCaprio and Mathew Schmid and directed by Leila Conners, Ice on Fire is an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis. The film goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming.

Eleven years after Conners’ first collaboration with DiCaprio on The 11th Hour, which emphasized the problems of climate change, Ice on Fire instead focuses on the cutting-edge research behind today’s climate science – and the innovations aimed at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, which could pave the way for a reduction in the global temperature rise and a benefit to the planet’s life systems.

With sweeping cinematography of a world worth saving, Ice on Fire as filmed across the globe, from Norway to Alaska, Iceland to Colorado, Switzerland to Costa Rica to Connecticut. The film highlights firsthand accounts of people at the forefront of the climate crisis, with insights from scientists, farmers, innovators and others.

Ice on Fire emphasizes the importance of an immediate, two-pronged approach to reversing the crisis: reducing carbon emissions through traditional renewable energy sources and new ones, like tidal energy, and implementing “drawdown” measures, focusing on methods for drawing down and sequestering carbon, including direct air capture, sea farms, urban farms, biochar, marine snow, bionic leaves and others.

While much of the political and economic focus has been on the energy sector, the film points out that drawdown (pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and oceans and sequestering it underground or into new materials) is perhaps the best hope for mitigating climate change.

Ice on Fire finds that while the risks and urgency may be higher than ever today, there are also greater opportunities for innovative solutions, offering a realistic but hopeful perspective on a key global issue that demands our attention.

After July 16, check for options to view on HBO via subscription or other options.

When people talk about the climate strikes … they talk about almost anything except for the climate crisis: they talk about whether we are promoting truancy, or whether we are puppets, or it’s great that the young people are taking action. They don’t want to talk about the climate crisis … they just want to change the subject.”Greta Thunberg.

Recently when visiting a middle school class, I shared about Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen that has inspired youth all over the world to hold Climate Strikes, and one coming up in the US next Friday March 15th.  I was a little surprised when the teacher said ‘”oh, we can do that, we’ve done that before @ other issues”.  This means that teachers and students at this school will work together to study the issue and on March 15th will march (strike) around their neighborhood sharing messages encouraging taking action on Climate Change.   A sign of collaboration. YES! Please consider doing something similar.

Greta is remarkable.  You can google her to find some of her videos and stories about her. Here are a few links.“in response to hate and lies, let me make some things clear about my climate strike” by Greta Thunberg, 2.2.2019 Greta TED Talk.

background information
Interviews with 8 youth from around the world, who are leading Climate Strikes in their own communities. 2.11.2019

The Green New Deal…. perhaps you’ve read or heard of it….Here is short video (NBC) sharing the story:,Inside The Sunrise Movement: How Climate Activists Put The Green New Deal On The Map. A group of 20yr olds that started this just 2 years ago.

Climate Trial – 22 youth suing the US federal government to protect the Climate.  Here is the story “Lawsuit could put Climate Change on trial” as reported on CBS 60 minutes program on March 2 2019.

Youth plaintiffs in Climate Trial

Article in The Nation, March 2019 issue, “On March 15, the Climate Kids Are Coming” This article talks about Greta, Sunrise, and youth activists engaging in Climate Activism.

Youth Climate Strike US. 5 teens organizing strikes across the county on March 15th.  Visit this site to learn more about other youth climate strikes around the country and ideas for your own.

Need a refresher on Climate Change/Global Warming basics. Visit Climate 101 by Climate Reality Project. and 350.org/Science

Additional Resources….Drawdown – the Most Comprehensive Plan ever proposed to Reverse Global Warming. 100 Solutions to Reverse Global Warming. it’s inspiring, and a great resource for study in your classroom.

the Parents Guide to Climate Revolution – by Mary DeMocker.100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep [Great book & resource. TA]

Wondering when we’ll get back to Solar Energy? Not to worry, the sun comes up everyday. It’s good to explore why we’re interested in the promise of sunshine and all it can do. A Big reason is it’s potential to wean us off fossil fuels, helping to reverse global warming.

Looking forward,


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