Drawdown | Reflections & Notes

Paul Hawken, ed. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. Penguin Books, 2017.  (240 pages)

cf. Project Drawdown


There is, after so many years, still quite a bit of misinformation and/or misrepresentation by partisans regarding Climate Change and the proposed solutions for combating carbon emissions. Trains replacing airplanes? How are people going to get to Hawaii? You’re saying cow farts are a problem? That’s just ridiculous. You’re proposing nuclear energy? How dare you consider something so dangerous? These, and dozens (hundreds?) of other talking points are frustratingly imprecise and sometimes intentionally erroneous. It is both false and deceptive to continue speaking about climate change solutions as a fabricated tool for partisan politics or dismiss them as some sort of rogue pseudo-science designed to manipulate the masses. The solutions to combating Climate Change are as scientifically robust as the Climate Change science itself, and it mandates our attention, our respect, and our commitment.

In Drawdown, we get a clear, articulate, and inspired explanation of the proposals that we can actually achieve to “drawdown” the amount of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) we emit into the atmosphere. In addition to well-calculated projections, we also see how moving in this direction saves us money, increases our quality and span of life, betters our systems, and advances justice, all at the same time. In short, it is my estimation that ignoring these innovations and technologies is ill-considered at best, and runs the risk of being mindlessly foolish. Were it not for greed, ignorance, and the “will to power,” it is very possible we could have achieved much of what is written in this book already, saving us from the now necessary crisis mode in which we find ourselves. While time is not on our side, our intelligent solutions are. It is my hope that books like this inspire commitment to these innovations, and begin moving us in the direction of a sustainable and flourishing future.

At the end, Hawken implores us that this is not about mere “environmentalism.” Rather, this is ultimately about human identity, and “the gift of seeing who we are as stewards of the planet.” (p.217) Once again, I find that exhortation salient, resonating with both science and religion as partners in this endeavor. Thus, may we all come together as “Homo sapiens,” and the “image of God.”



Sometimes, when a concept or institution reaches its logical conclusion, the world looks at the results and cries: “Never again.” For really bad ideas–from totalitarianism to fossil fuel dependence–saying “never again” isn’t enough. Humanity needs other, better ideas to take their place. That’s where we are today. We know we can’t avoid the cataclysmic impacts of global warming by only focusing on achieving zero net carbon emissions; we must also rapidly re-sequester carbon. Drawdown–by identifying and researching dynamic, innovative solutions–creates the playbook for this urgent goal. (ix)

The stakes for our planet have never been higher. The world is warming, sea levels are rising, and the impacts of climate change are occurring faster and stronger than originally predicted. It is a global crisis with no place for partisan rhetoric, requiring solutions at every scale and across every sector. (ix)


The genesis of Project Drawdown was curiosity, not fear. In 2001 I began asking experts in climate and environmental fields a question: Do we know what we need to do in order to arrest and reverse global warming? I thought they could provide a shopping list. I wanted to know the most effective solutions that were already in place, and the impact they could have if scaled. I also wanted to know the price tag. My contacts replied that such an inventory did not exist, but all agreed it would be a great checklist to have, though creating one was not within their individual expertise. After several years, I stopped asking because it was not within my expertise either. (x)

The buildup of greenhouse gases we experience today occurred in the absence of human understanding; our ancestors were innocent of the damage they were doing. That can tempt us to believe that global warming is something that is happening to us–that we are victims of a fate that was determined by actions that precede us. If we change the preposition, and consider that global warming is happening for us–an atmospheric transformation that inspires us to change and reimagine everything we make and do–we begin to live in a different world. We take 100 percent responsibility and stop blaming others. We see global warming not as an inevitability but as an invitation to build, innovate, and effect change, a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion, and genius. This is not a liberal agenda, nor is it a conservative one. This is the human agenda. – Paul Hawken (xi)


Confucius wrote that calling things by their proper name is the beginning of wisdom. In the world of climate change, names can sometimes be the beginning of confusion. Climate science contains its own specialized vocabulary, acronyms, lingo, and jargon. It is a language derived by scientists and policy makers that is succinct, specific, and useful. However, as a means of communication to the broader public, it can create separation and distance. (xiii)

decarbonization is a word that describes the problem, not the goal: we decarbonized the earth by removing carbon in the form of combusted coal, gas, and oil, as well as through deforestation and poor farming practices, and releasing it into the atmosphere. When the word decarbonization is used, as it was by the White House, it refers to replacing fossil fuel energy with clean, renewable sources. However, the term is often employed as the overarching goal of climate action–one that is unlikely to inspire and more likely to confuse. (xiii)

| Another term used by scientists is “negative emissions.” This term has no meaning in any language. … The phrase refers to sequestering or drawing down carbon from the atmosphere. We call that sequestration. (xiii)

We also avoid using military language. Much of the rhetoric and writing about climate change is violent: the war on carbon, the fight against global warming, and frontline battles against fossil fuels. (xiii)

…”drawdown”…[refers] to reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. However, there is an even more important reason for the use of the word: drawdown names a goal that has been hitherto absent in most conversations about climate. … The only goal that makes sense for humanity is to reverse global warming, and if parents, scientists, young people, .eaders, and we citizens do not name the goal, there is little chance it will be achieved. (xiii)

| Last, there is the term “global warming.” The history of the concept goes back to the nineteenth century when Eunice Foote (1856) and John Tyndall (1859) independently described how gases trap heat in the atmosphere and how changes in the concentration of gases would alter the climate. The term global warming was first used by geochemist Wallace Broecker in a 1975 Science article entitled “Climate Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” Before that article, the term used was inadvertent climate modification. Global warming refers to the surface temperature of the earth. Climate change refers to the many changes that will occur with increases in temperature and greenhouse gases. That is why the U.N. climate agency is called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change–the IPCC, and not the IPGW. It studies the comprehensive impacts of climate change on all living systems. What we measure and model in Drawdown is how to begin the reduction of greenhouse gases in order to reverse global warming. – Paul Hawkin (xiii)

[via: See Broecker’s most recent paper, “When climate change predictions are right for the wrong reasons”]


But what is a gigaton? …imagine 400,000 Olympic-sized pools. That is about a billion metric tons of water, or 1 gigaton. Now multiply that by 36, yielding 14,400,000 pools. Thirty-six gigatons is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in 2016.

How much are we willing to spend to achieve the results that benefit all of humanity? … When considering the scale of benefits, the potential profits and savings, and the investments needed if conditions remain the same, the costs become negligible. The payback period for most solutions is relatively short in time. (xiv)


If you spend a year immersed in the economic data about energy, as we did, there is only one plausible conclusion: We are, in writer Jeremy Leggett’s words, squarely in the middle of the greatest energy transition in history. The era of fossil fuels is over, and the only question now is when the new era will be fully upon us. Economics make its arrival inevitable: Clean energy is less expensive. (1)

Wind Turbines

The International Monetary Fund estimates that the fossil fuel industry received more than $5.3 trillion in direct and indirect subsidies in 2015; that is $10 million a minute, or about 6.5 percent of global GDP. (3)


When coal is burned to boil water to turn a turbine to generate electricity, two-thirds of the energy is dispersed as waste heat and in-line losses. (5)


Solar Farms

…photovoltaics were so expensive (more than $1,900 per watt in today’s currency),…public investment, tax incentives, technology evolution, and brute manufacturing force have chipped away at the cost of creating PV bringing it down to sixty-five cents per watt.

Rooftop Solar

Wave and Tidal

…Yoshio Masuda and his 1947 invention of the oscillating water column (OWC). (12)

Concentrated Solar

…heat can be stored twenty to one hundred times more cheaply than electricity. (15)


Part of the answer is biomass energy generation. It is a “bridge” solution from status quo to desired state–imperfect, riddled with caveats, and probably necessary. (16)

Rather than releasing fossil-fuel carbon that has been stored for eons far belowground, biomass energy generation trades in carbon that is already in circulation, cycling from atmosphere to plants and back again. Grow plants and sequester carbon. Process and burn biomass. Emit carbon. Repeat. It is a continuous, neutral exchange, so long as use and replenishment remain in balance. (16)

There is an if: Biomass energy is a viable solution if it uses appropriate feedstock, such as waste products or sustainably grown, appropriate energy crops. (16)


In effect, nuclear power plants boil water. Nuclear fission splits atomic nuclei and releases the energy that binds the protons and neutrons together. The energy released by radioactivity is used to heat water, which in turn is used to power turbines. It is the most complex process every invented to create steam. (19)


U.S. coal-fired or nuclear power plants re about 34 percent efficient in terms of producing electricity, which means two-thirds of the energy goes up the flue and heats the sky. All told, the U.S. power-generation sector throws away an amount of heat equivalent to the entire energy budget of Japan. Put your hand behind the tailpipe of your car when the engine is running. It is the same principle, only worse–75 to 80 percent of the energy generated by an internal combustion engine is wasted heat. Coal and single-cycle gas generating plants are the best candidates for capturing wasted energy through cogeneration. (22)

Micro Wind

Alexander von Humboldt

Humboldt’s first and most stunning depiction of nature as an interconnected whole was his so-called Naturgemälde, a German term that can mean “painting of nature” but that also implies a sense of unity or wholeness. It was, as Humboldt later explained, a “microcosm on one page.” In today’s parlance, this is probably the first infographic ever created, another first by Humboldt.

Methane Digesters

Molecules of methane that make their way into the atmosphere create a warming effect up to thirty-four times stronger than carbon dioxide over a one-hundred-year time horizon. But that need not be the case. One option is to control their decomposition in sealed tanks called anaerobic digesters, which facilitate the natural processes Volta found along Maggiore’s marshy shores. They harness the power of microbes to transform scraps and sludge and produce two main products: biogas, an energy source, and solids called digestate, a nutrient-rich fertilizer. (26)

In-Stream Hydro


In Drawdown, there are several solutions that we call regrets solutions, and this is one of them. A regrets solution has a positive impact on overall carbon emissions; however, the social and environmental costs are harmful and high. (28)

There is nothing renewable about burning plastic athletic shoes, CDs, Styrofoam peanuts, and auto upholstery. Waste is certainly a repeatable resource at this point, but that is only because we generate so very much. (29)

Drawdown includes waste-to-energy as a bridge solution: It can help move us away from fossil fuels in the near-term, but is not part of a clean energy future. … But there is another reason we list this as a regrets solution. Waste-to-energy can impede emergence of something better: zero-waste practices that eliminate the need for landfills and incinerators altogether. If this sounds starry-eyed or impractical, know that ten large corporations have committed to zero waste to landfill, including Interface, Subaru, Toyota, and Google. (29)

Grid Flexibility

Energy Storage (Utilities)

Energy Storage (Distributed)

Solar Water


If you add to livestock all other food-related emissions–from farming to deforestation to food waste–what we eat turns out to be the number one cause of global warming. (37)

Plant-Rich Diet

If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. (39)

As Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh as said, making the transition to a plant-based diet may well be the most effective way an individual can stop climate change. Recent research suggests he is right: Few climate solutions of this magnitude lie in the hands of individuals or are as close to the dinner plate. (40)

Farmland Restoration

The default mode of all land is regeneration. (41)

Reduced Food Waste

Ranked with countries, food would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases globally, just behind the United States and China. A fundamental equation is off-kilter: People who need food are not getting it, and food that is not getting consumed is heating up the planet. (42)

Clean Cookstoves

Globally, household air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death and disability, ahead of unsafe water and lack of sanitation, and it is responsible for more premature deaths than NIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. (44)

Black carbon is especially harmful to the climate, as well as to health. This particulate matter is highly light absorbent, soaking up a million times more energy than an equal amount of carbon dioxide. (44)

Multistrata Agroforestry

If natural forests grow food for the species within them, multistrata agroforestry sets out to cultivate food for humans as well. (46)

Because multistrata agroforestry mimics the structure of forests, it can deliver similar environmental benefits. Multistrata systems can prevent erosion and flooding, recharge groundwater, restore degraded land and spoils, support biodiversity by providing habitat and corridors between fragmented ecosystems, and absorb and store significant amounts of carbon. (46)

According to one study of traditional Pacific multistrata agroforestry, just 0.2 calories of energy produce 1 calorie of food. (47)

Improved Rice Cultivation

Presently, rice cultivation is responsible for at least 10 percent of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and 9 to 19 percent of global methane emissions. Flooded rice paddies are perfect environments for methane-producing microbes that feed on decomposing organic matter, a process known as methanogenesis. (48)


Cows and trees do not belong together–so says conventional wisdom. And why should it not? …the practice of silvopasture challenges this assumption of mutual exclusivity and could help shape a new era for the acreage dedicated to livestock and their food. (50)

| From the Latin for “forest” and “grazing,” silvopasture is just that: the integration of trees and pasture or forage into a single system for raising livestock, from cattle and sheep to deer and ducks. Rather than seeing trees as a weed to be removed, silvopasture integrates them into a sustainable and symbiotic system. (50)

The integrated, symbiotic system of silvopasture proves to be more resilient for both animals and trees. In a typical treeless pasture, livestock may suffer from extreme heat, cutting winds, and mediocre forage. But silvopasture provides distributed shade and wind protection, as well as rich food. With better nutrition and shelter from the elements, animal health goes up, as does the production of milk, meat, and offspring. Yield results vary depending on the exact silvopasture system employed, but they regularly surpass that of a comparable grass-only pasture by 5 to 10 percent. At the same time, livestock function as weed control, reducing trees’ competition for moisture, sunlight, and nutrients. Their manure also provides natural fertilizer. (50)

| Silvopasture can cut farmers’ costs by reducing the need for feed, fertilizer, and herbicides. Because the integration of trees into grazing lands enhances soil fertility and moisture, farmers find themselves with healthier, more productive land over time. (50)

Trees create cooler microclimates and more protective environments, and can moderate water availability. Therein lies the climatic win-win of silvopasture: As it averts further greenhouse emissions from one of the world’s most polluting sectors, it also protects against changes that are now inevitable. (51)

Why Bother?
Michael Pollan

Tell me: How did it come to pass that virtue–a quality that for most of history has generally been deemed, well, a virtue–became a mark of liberal softheadedness? How peculiar, that doing the right thing by the environment–buying the hybrid, eating like a locavore–should now set you up for the Ed Begley Jr. treatment. (52)

So do you still want to talk about planting gardens? | I do. (53)

Measured against the Problem We Face, planting a garden sounds pretty benign, I know, but in fact it’s one of the most powerful things an individual can do–to reduce your carbon footprint, sure, but more important, to reduce your sense of dependence and dividedness: to change the cheap-energy mind. (53)

Growing food, we forget, comprises the original solar technology: calories produced by means of photosynthesis. (53)

If the experts are right, if both oil and time are running out, these are skills and habits of mind we’re all very soon going to need. (53)

But tehre are sweeter reasons to plant that garden, to bother. At least in this one corner of your yard and life, you will have begun to heal the split between what you think and what you do, to commingle your identities as consumer and producer and citizen. Chances are, your garden will re-engage you with your neighbors, or you will have produce to give away and the need to borrow their tools. … The single greatest lesson from the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people can still plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. (53)

Regenerative Agriculture

The purpose of regenerative agriculture is to continually improve and regenerate the health of the soil by restoring its carbon content, which in turn improves plant health, nutrition, and productivity. (54)

One principle of regenerative agriculture is no tillage. … Soil abhors a plant vacuum. Bare land, save for deserts and sand dunes, will naturally revegetate. Plants need a home, and soil (54) needs a cover. (55)

Increasing carbon means increasing the life of the soil. When carbon is stored in soil organic matter, microbial life proliferates, soil texture improves, roots go deeper, worms drag organic matter down their holes and make rich castings of nitrogen, nutrient uptake is enhanced, water retention increases several fold (creating drought tolerance or flood insurance), nourished plants are more pest resistant, and fertility compounds to the point where little or no fertilizers are necessary. This ability to become independent of fertilizers relies upon cover crops. (55)

Evidence points to a new wisdom: The world cannot be fed unless the soil is fed. Feeding the soil reduces carbon in the atmosphere. … It is the presence of observable science–a practice that aligns agriculture with natural principles. It restores, revitalizes, and reinstates healthy agricultural ecosystems. Indeed, regenerative agriculture is one of the greatest opportunities to simultaneously address human, soil, and climate health, along with the financial well-being of farmers. It is about biological alignment–how to live and grow better food in ways that are more productive, safer, and more resilient. (55)

Nutrient Management

Effective nutrient management is summarized by the four Rs: right source, right time, right place, and right rate. (56)

Nutrient management is unique among the land-use solutions in this book, in that it is primarily about avoided emissions and not about carbon sequestration. (57)

Tree Intercropping

There are two ways to farm. Industrial agriculture sows a single crop over large areas. Regenerative practices such as tree intercropping use diversity to improve soil health and productivity and align with biological principles. Lower inputs, healthier crops, and higher yields are the outcome. (58)

Conservation Agriculture

Historically viewed as a major advance forward as an agrarian species, plows are absent on farms practicing conservation agriculture, and for good reason. When farmers till their fields to destroy weed and fold in fertilizer, water int he freshly turned soil. evaporates. Soil itself can be blown or washed away and carbon held within it released into the atmosphere. Though intended to prepare a field to be productive, tilling can actually make it nutrient poor and less life giving. (60)

Conservation agriculture adheres to three core principles: minimize soil disturbance, maintain soil cover, and manage crop rotation. The Latin root conserve means “to keep together.” (60)


Organic matter matters. (62)

cf. De Agricultura by Cato the Elder

Fertile soil depends, as was once conjectured, on a mix of weathered rock fragments and decaying organic matter, and there are more microbes in a teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on the planet. These soil microorganisms play two interlocking roles. They help to break down organic matter from dead plants and animals, putting key nutrients back into circulation within an ecosystem. They also help supply those key nutrients to plants’ roots, precisely where they are needed, in exchange for exudates, carbohydrates released by plants–food for bacteria and fungi. From nitrogen to potassium to phosphorus and beyond, microbes keep the plant world thriving, and have their role to play in addressing climate change. (62)

…today, much organic waste ends up in landfills. It decays in the absence of oxygen, producing the potent greehouse gas methane, which is up to thirty-four times more powerful than carbon dioxide over one hundred years. A quarter of anthropogenic global warming may be due to methane gas alone. While many landfills have some form of methane management, it is far more effective to divert organic waste for composting, both dramatically reducing emissions and putting microbes to work. (62)

Compost is an incredibly valuable fertilizer, retaining water and nutrients of the original waste matter, and can aid soil carbon sequestration. It is like going from refuse to riches. (63)


In ancient Amazonian society, virtually all waste was organic. … Wastes were baked without exposure to air beneath a layer of soil. This process, known as pyrolysis, produced a charcoal soil amendment rich in carbon. The result was terra preta, literally “black earth” in Portuguese. (64)

The pyrolysis process for producing biochar is from the Greek pyro for “fire” and lysis for “separating.” It is the slow baking of biomass in the near or total absence of oxygen. The preferred method is gasification, a higher-temperature pyrolysis that results in more completely carbonized biomass. Biochar is commonly made from waste material ranging from peanut shells to rice straw to wood scraps. As it is heated, gas and oil separate from carbon-rich solids. The output its twofold: fuels that can be used for energy (perhaps for fueling pyrolysis itself) and biochar for soil amendment. (65)

Think of biochar as a habitat–much like a coral reef, it is riddled with nooks and crannies taht catch nutrients, hold on to water, and help vital microorganisms to set up shop. Experts report that just one gram of biochar can have a surface area of twelve hundred to three thousand square yards, thanks to the abundance of tiny pores. (65)

Tropical Staple Trees

Due to the nature of farming practices, annuals cause a neet release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere every year. (66)

Given changes in worldwide weather patterns,  perennials are more resilient, providing food where annual crops have failed. Net rainfall is increasing in the world, but not in the way it is wanted or needed. Global warming is creating rainfall patterns that range from prolonged drought conditions to overwhelming rains accompanied by flash floods. Perennial staple tree crops can thrive under conditions that annuals cannot. (67)

Farmland Irrigation

…agriculture and irrigation consume 70 percent of the world’s freshwater resources, and irrigation is essential for 40 percent of the world’s food production. Given its prevalence and scale, irrigation can cause surface and groundwater depletion by tapping rivers and aquifers, and spark competition for water rights between farms, cities, and businesses. Pumping and distributing farm water also requires energy, releasing carbon emissions in the process. (68)

Drip irrigation achieves 90 percent application efficiency. Sprinkler irrigation reaches 70 percent precision. That means each drop of water generates more value, improving the productivity of irrigation and requiring less water consumption overall. (68)

The Hidden Half of Nature
David. R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé

What creates soil health, productivity, water infiltration rates, drought tolerance, pest resistance, and water quality are, in large part, the legions of bacteria found in the soil, an unfathomably complex community of life-giving processes. This is the “hidden half of nature” that Montgomery and Biklé write about so eloquently in their book of the same name. (70)

…soil chemistry held the key to soil fertility. (71)

| In short order, Liebig and his disciples identified five key things essential for plants to grow–water (H20), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N), and the two rock-derived mineral elements, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). (71)

[It turns out that] organic matter is the lifeblood of the soil, the currency in the original underground economy. A soil’s hunger for organic matter partially explains the mystery of why it disappears so quickly. There beneath your feet, microbes and larger life forms create complex and dynamic communities where everyone has a dual role–eat and be eaten. These microscopic workhorses not only break down organic matter; they also play the role of supplier and distributor of nutrients, trace elements and organic acids that plants need. So, while plants don’t directly absorb organic matter, they do absorb the metabolic products of soil organisms that feed on and break down organic matter. (71)

Managed Grazing

Herbivores such as cattle, sheep, goats, elk, moose, and deer are ruminants, mammals that ferment cellulose in their digestive systems and break it down with methane-emitting microbes. (72)

…how long an animal grazes on a specific grassland and how long the land rests before animals return. Achieving optimal (72) results in the cow-grass relationship came to be known as managed grazing. (73)

When I was farming conventionally, I’d wake up and decide what I was going to kill today. Now I wake up and decide what I am going to help live. … You’re not going to change Washington [D.C.]. Consumers are the driving force. – Gabe Brown


…suppression and marginalization along gender lines actually hurt everyone, while equity is good for all. (75)

Women Smallholders

On average, women make up 43 percent of the agricultural labor force and produce 60 to 80 percent of food crops in poorer parts of the world. … Their stories are diverse but share a key ccommonality: compared with their male counterparts, women have less access to a range of resources, from land and credit to education and technology. Even though they farm as capably and efficiently as men, inequality in assets, inputs, and support means women produce less on the same amount of land. Closing this gender gap can improve the lives of women, their families and communities, while addressing global warming. (76)

| According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), if all women smallholders receive equal access to productive resources, their farm yields will rise by 20 to 30 percent, total agricultural ouput in low-income countries will increase by 2.5 to 4 percent, and the number of undernourished people in the world will drop by 12 to 17 percent. One hundred million to 150 million people will no longer be hungry. (76)

cf. A Field of One’s Own by Bina Agarwal

It will be difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate global poverty and end hunger without building resilience to climate change in smallholder agriculture through the widespread adoption of sustainable…practices. – FAO

When women earn more, they reinvest 90 percent of the money they make into education, health, and nutrition for their families and communities, compared to 30 to 40 percent for men. … With this solution, human well-being and climate are rightly linked, and what is good for equity is good for the livelihoods of all genders. (77)

Family Planning

For women to have children by choice rather than chance and to plan their family size and spacing is a matter of autonomy and dignity. …74 million unintended pregnancies each year. …the United States, where 45 percent of pregnancies are unintended. (78)

In the early 1970s, Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren developed the now-famous equation known as “IPAT”: Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology. In simplified fashion, it argues that the impact human beings have on the environment is a function of number, level of consumption, and the kind of technology used. (78)

Honoring the dignity of women and children through family planning is not about centralized governments forcing the birth rate down–or up, through natalist policies. Nor is it about agencies or activists in rich countries, where emissions are highest, telling people elsewhere to stop having children. It is most essentially about freedom and opportunity for women and the recognition of basic human rights.

Educating Girls

Girls’ education, it turns out, has a dramatic bearing on global warming. Women with more years of education have fewer, healthier children and actively manage their reproductive health. (81)

For starters, educated girls realize higher wages and greater upward mobility, contributing to economic growth. Their rates of maternal mortality drop, as do mortality rates of their babies. They are less likely to marry as children or against their will. They have lower incidence of HIV/AIDS and malaria–the “social vaccine” effect. Their agricultural plots are more productive and their families better nourished. They are more empowered at home, at work, and in society. An intrinsic right, education lays a foundation for vibrant lives for girls and women, their families, and their communities. It is the most powerful lever available for breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, while mitigating emissions by curbing population growth. (81)

…educating girls “is the single most important social and economic factor associated with a reduction in vulnerability to natural disasters.” (82)

Education is grounded in the belief that every life bubbles with innate potential. When it comes to climate change, nurturing the promise of each girl can shape the future for all. (82)

IMPACT: Two solutions influence family size and global population: educating girls and family planning. Because the exact dynamic between these solutions is impossible to determine, our models allocate 50 percent of the total potential impact to each. We assume that these impacts result from thirteen years of schooling, including primary through secondary education. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, by closing an annual financing gap of #39 billion, universal education in low- and lower-middle-income countries can be achieved. It could result in 59.6 gigatons of emissions reduced by 2050. The return on that investment is incalculable. (82)


Net Zero Buildings

A net zero building is one that has zero net energy consumption, producing as much energy as it uses in a year. In some months it may generate excess electricity; at other times it may require electricity. On balance, it is self-supporting. Along with using less energy; net zero buildings are more resilient during disasters and blackouts, are more carefully designed by necessity, and generally have reduced operating costs. (84)

Walkable Cities

The pedestrian is an extremely fragile species, the canary in the coal mine of urban livability. Under the right conditions, this creature thrives and multiplies. – Jeff Speck

Speck’s “general theory of walkability” outlines four criteria that must be met for people to opt to walk. A journey on foot must be useful, helping an individual meet some need in daily life. It must feel safe, including protection from cars and other hazards. It must be comfortable, attracting walkers to what Speck calls “outdoor living rooms.” And it must be interesting, with beauty, liveliness, and variety all around. … They have “walk appeal,” thanks to a density of fellow walkers, a mix of land and real estate uses, and key design elements that create compelling environments for people on foot. (86)

Bike Infrastructure

Green Roofs

LED Lighting

LED’s transfer 80 percent of their energy use into creating light–rather than heat, like older technologies–… (92)

According to the University of California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “A sixth of humanity spends upwards of $40 billion per year on (92) lighting (20 percent of the total energy spend for lighting), yet [receives just] 0.1 percent as much illumination as does the electrified world.” … Still, when the sun sets, more than a billion people live in the dark. LEDs are as important for addressing light poverty as climate change. (93)

The impact solar-LED lights have on human well-being and economic development speaks to the essential role artificial lighting plays in day-to-day life. It extends activity into dark hours and expands the spaces that are useful beyond those that are sunlit. So hardwired into human life is lighting, it accounts for 15 percent of global electricity use–more than that generated by all nuclear plants worldwide. (93)

Heat Pumps

Gwyn Prins, professor emeritus at the London School of Economics and Political Science, suggests that addiction to air-conditioning (AC) is “the most pervasive and least noticed epidemic” in the United States–where the amount of electricity used to keep buildings cool is equal to what the whole of Africa uses, for everything. (95)

The building sector worldwide uses approximately 32 percent of all energy generated; more than one-third of that is for heating and cooling. Various bodies have analyzed the potential for increased efficiency and projected the results. All agree on two points: Business as usual generates spiraling emissions from heating and cooling; maximum efficiency could cut energy use by 30 to 40 percent. (95)

Smart Glass

Electrochromic glass was developed in the 9170s and ’80s by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory near Denver, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, and other institutes. What makes it electrochromic is a thin layer of nanoscale metal oxides–one-fiftieth the thickness of a human hair–the exact recipe for which varies by manufacturer and continues to evolve through research. When exposed to a brief burst of voltage, ions move into another layer and the tint and reflectiveness of the glass change. Tuned by smartphone or tablet, electrochromic glass is as switchable as indoor lighting. (96)

Smart Thermostats

According to the European Commission, maintaining temperate residential, commercial, and industrial buildings accounts for half the European Union’s energy use. (98)

District Heating

In district heating and cooling (DHC) systems, a central plant channels hot and/or cool water via a network of underground pipes to many buildings. Heat exchangers and heat pumps separate buildings from the distribution network, so that heating and cooling are centralized while thermostats remain independent. Rather than having small boilers and chilling units whir away at each structure, DHC provides thermal energy collectively–and more efficiently. (99)

Landfill Methane

Methane is a mighty molecule. Over the course of a century, it has up to thirty-four times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. … But methane is also a fuel. Landfill methane can be tapped for capture and use as a fairly clean energy source for generating electricity or heat, rather than leaking into the air or being dispersed as waste. The climate benefit is twofold: prevent landfill emissions and displace coal, oil, or natural gas that might otherwise be used. 9100)

Most landfill content is organic matter: food scraps, yard trimmings, junk wood, wastepaper. At first, aerobic bacteria decompose those materials, but as layers of garbage get compacted and covered–and ultimately sealed beneath a landfill cap–oxygen is depleted. In its absence, anerobic bacteria take over, and decomposition produces biogas, a roughly equal blend of carbon dioxide and methane accompanied by a smattering of other gases. Carbon dioxide would be part of nature’s cycles, but the methane is anthropogenic, created because we dump organic waste into sanitary landfills. (100)


The word “insulation” comes from the Latin root insula for “island.” In terms of thermal flow, making buildings into islands is exactly what insulation aims to do. (101)

What makes insulation effective is its capacity for thermal resistance: how effectively it resists heat flow through conduction (direct heat exchange through materials), convection (circulation of heat through air or fluids), and radiation (transfer of heat by electromagnetic waves). R-value is the system of measurement for thermal resistance. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation, which varies by type, thickness, and density, as well as where it is installed in a building and how. (101)


Worldwide, buildings account for 32 percent of energy use and 19 percent of energy-related greenhouse emissions. In the United States, buildings’ energy consumption is more than 40 percent of the nation’s total. (102)

As much as 80 percent of the energy consumed is wasted–lights and electronics are left on unnecessarily and gaps int he building’s envelope allow air to seep in and out, for example. (103)

Water Distribution

Water is heavy. … The World Bank calculates that 8.6 trillion gallons are lost each year through leaks, split roughly in half between high- and low-income countries. (105)

| That the gallons lost during distribution are dubbed “non-revenue water” reveals what is at stake for utilities and municipalities: a sinking bottom line. Also at stake are emissions from needlessly producing billions of kilowatt-hours of electricity, to pump water not into homes or businesses but through breaks in the world’s water-distribution networks. (105)

Building Automation

A building automation system (BAS) is a building’s brain. Equipped with sensors, BAS buildings are constantly scanning and rebalancing for greatest efficiency and effectiveness. (106)

The static structure of buildings makes it easy to forget their contribution to climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, buildings are responsible for roughly one-third of global energy use and one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. (106)


The word drawdown describes the reduction of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. There are two means by which to achieve it: a radical decrease in human-caused emissions and widespread adoption of proven land and ocean practices that sequester carbon from the air and store it for decades and even centuries. In order to properly measure the impact of land-based practices that would actually affect drawdown, we broke them up into discrete solutions. Thirteen are included under Food because they relate to food production, and nine are detailed here. We first assessed how land was being used the world over; then we calculated what would happen if the use were different, or if the techniques specifically being employed to graze or grow were altered. Although not included in the calculations, the research vividly shows how all twenty-two are no-regrets solutions. Implementation increases soil moisture, cloud cover, crop yields, biodiversity, employment, human health, income and resilience, while dramatically reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on farmland. (107)

Forest Protection

The most critical of all forest types is primary forest, known as old-growth or virgin forest. Examples include the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia and those of the Amazon and the Congo. These are forests that have achieved great age with mature canopy trees and complex understories, making them the greatest repositories of biodiversity on the planet. (109)

At one time, the planet’s forests covered vast tracts of land and human incursions were relatively negligible. Stone axes were felling trees ten thousand years ago, but hunter-gatherers did not need significant amounts of wood. That began to shift as agriculture took root and communities remained in place. By 5500 BC, civilization and nation states began to bloom in what was known as the Fertile Crescent, nurtured by agricultural bounty. The first iron tools, writing systems, and crops were developed by the ancient Iraqis and other peoples of the Middle East. Populations swelled, fed by wild wheat, peas, fruits, sheep, pigs, goats, and cows. Abundant food surpluses supported art, politics, governance, laws, mathematics, science, and education. (109)

| What happened? Forests were cut. Soil erosion accelerated. Rain no longer fed the forest soil but removed it. Subsequent irrigation produced salinization; deadened salt pans emerged where crops once flourished. Overgrazing on drying soils caused them to blow away. The story of ancient Iraq and its environs is playing out across the world. (109)

Since humans began farming, the number of trees on earth has fallen by 46 percent. (Today, forests cover 15.4 million square miles of the earth’s surface–or roughly 30 percent of its land area.). (109)

Stopping all deforestation and restoring forest resources could offset up to one-third of all carbon emissions worldwide. (110)

Tropical forests are home to two-thrids of all terrestrial plants and animals, an irreplaceable stock of biodiversity. (110)

Without question, the Amazon is the greatest single natural resource in the world. Rainforests are being cut down at a rate that will eliminate them in forty years. (111)

Coastal Wetlands

Absorbed over centuries, maybe millennia, this “blue carbon”–so called because of its seaside location–was overlooked for years, although coastal wetlands can store five times as much carbon as tropical forests over the long term, mostly in deep wetland soils. (112)

Often in human history, “wetland” has meant “wasteland”–a place to dike, dredge, and drain for purposes ranging from farming to homesteading. (112)

According to the journal Nature, “Some 2.4-4.6 percent of the world’s carbon emissions are captured and sequestered by living organisms in the oceans, and the United Nations estimates that at least half of that sequestration takes place in ‘blue-carbon’ wetlands.” (112)

Tropical Forests

…tropical forests–those located within 23.5 degrees north or south of the equator–have suffered extensive clearing, fragmentation, degradation, and depletion of flora and fauna. Once blanketing 12 percent of the world’s landmasses, they now cover just 5 percent. …the regrowth of tropical forests sequesters as much as six gigatons of carbon dioxide per year. That is equivalent to 11 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide or all those emanating from the United States. (114)

Tropical forest loss alone is responsible for 16 to 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity. (114)

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), 30 percent of the world’s forestland has been cleared completely. Another 20 percent has been degraded. “More than 2 billion hectares [4.9 billion acres] worldwide offer opportunities for restoration–an area larger than South America,” a team of WRI researchers reports. (114)

…forest landscape restoration (FLR). This approach, proposed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, means “regarding the landscape as an integrated whole…looking at different land uses together, their connections, interactions, and a mosaic of [restoration] interventions.”


In the Philippine creation story, the first man, Malakas (Strong One), and the first woman, Maganda (Beautiful One), emerged from the two halves of a bamboo tree. (117)

You can sit by timer bamboo in the spring and watch it grow more than one inch an hour. (117)

Just a grass, bamboo has the compressive strength of concrete and the tensile strength of steel. (117)

Because bamboo is a grass, it contains minute silica structures called plant stones, or phytoliths. Composed of minerals, phytoliths resist degradation longer than other plant material. The carbon they store can remain sequestered in the soil for hundreds or thousands of years. The combination of phytoliths and bamboo’s rapid growth rate make it a prolific means to sequester carbon. (117)

The Man Who Stopped the Desert

Studies have shown that 98 percent of the news published or broadcast about climate change is negative and essentially gloom inducing. In this excerpt from Mark Hertsgaard’s book Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earththe news is different–it is a story of desertification being reversed in the face of more challenging rainfall conditions. (118)

My conviction, based on personal experience, is that trees are like lungs. If we do not protect them, and increase their numbers, it will be the end of the world. – Yacouba Sawadogo

Perennial Biomass

Plant in the spring. Grow through the summer. Harvest in the fall. This rhythm has existed for ten thousand years of humanity’s agricultural history. It is how we think about the cycle of production but does not apply to all crops. … COmpared to annuals, perennials have the potential to avoid leaching nutrients, eroding soil, spraying synthetic fertilizers, and running diesel-swigging equipment as often. Bioenergy crops present an opportunity to swap annuals for perennials, and draw down carbon in the process. (121)


…also known as bogs or mires…are neither solid ground nor water, but something in between. Peat is a think, mucky, waterlogged substance made up of dead and decomposing plant matter. … That acidic, anerobic environment has preserved human remains, so-called “bog bodies” from the Iron Age and earlier. Given enough time, pressure, and heat, peat would become coal. (122)

Paludiculture, from the Latin palus for “marsh” and cultura for “growing,” can build on the success of rewetting by cultivating biomass to protect and regenerate peat. It is the artful creation of vegetation decay that can renew peat layers over time, and can accommodate certain crops such as oranges and tea trees. Taken together, restoration practices should help the ecosystem become whole again. (123)

Indigenous Peoples’ Land Management

Home Gardens. Agroforestry. Swidden. The term swidden refers to the burning and clearing of forestland for annual cultivation and the subsequent fallowing of the land over some period to allow regeneration. Pastoralism. (125) Fire Management. Community Managed Forests. (126)

Temperate Forests

The Hidden Life of Trees
Peter Wohlleben

Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping around for as long as possible. And that is why even sick individuals are supported and nourished until they recover. Next time, perhaps it will be the other way round, and the supporting tree might be the one in need of assistance. (130)


Creating new forests where there were none before in areas that have been treeless for at least fifty years is the aim of afforestation. (132)


The transport sector is double-edged. You will find here solutions that significantly improve the fuel efficiency of the planes, trains, ships, cars, and trucks that continue to rely on fossil fuels. However, unless use of these modes of transport is curtailed, the efficiency improvements will be devoured by increased consumption. Also included are solutions that can move transport beyond fossil fuels. Electric vehicles are four times as efficient as gas-powered ones, and when powered by wind turbines at today’s prices, the electrical equivalent of gasoline is thirty to fifty cents per gallon. Bicycles also offer mobility without fuel. The use and sustainability of transportation cannot be separated from how and where people live, work, and play; two major influences going forward will be the design of the urban environment and reduction of excess consumption. (135)

Mass Transit

When someone opts to ride a streetcar or bus rather than driving a car or hailing a cab, greenhouse gases are averted. To use technical parlance, it is all about modal shift. (136)

| The transport sector is responsible for 23 percent of global emissions. (136)

Mass transit also has a crucial social advantage: It makes cities more equitable by serving those who cannot drive–the young and the old, those with physical limitations, and those unable to afford car ownership. (136)

As Adam Gopnik put it in the New Yorker, “A train is a small society, headed somewhere more or less on time, more or less together, more or less sharing the same window, with a common view and a singular destination”–a unique civic experience, as well as a means of conveyance. (137)

High-Speed Rail

High-speed rail (HSR) is powered almost exclusively by electricity, not diesel. Compared to driving or flying, it is the fastest way to travel between two points a few hundred miles apart and reduces carbon emissions up to 90 percent. (138)

…any assessment should include the costs if a high-speed rail line is not built, as all of our transportation systems enjoy significant government subsidies, hidden or otherwise. (139)


More than 80 percent of global trade, by weight, floats its way from place to place. Ninety thousand commercial vessels–tankers, bulk dry carriers, and container ships–make the movement of goods possible to the tune of more than 10 billion tons of cargo in 2015. (140)

Shipping oil, iron ore, rice, and running shoes across oceans produces 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and those emissions grow as world trade continues to increase. Forecasts predict they could be 50 percent to 250 percent higher in 2050, depending on economic and energy variables. (140)

Marine organisms easily plant themselves on the hulls of ships, where they add weight, create drag, and lower fuel efficiency. This biofouling can increase fuel consumption by 40 percent. The rough, toothlike scales of sharks prevent algae and barnacles from attaching to their skin. Harnessing these attributes of sharkskin, University of Florida professor Anthony Brennan developed a biomimetic coating to keep hulls clean for smoother sailing. It is one of many technologies and practices that can make cargo ships more hydrodynamic and energy efficient. (141)

Researchers attribute sixty thousand deaths each year from cardiovascular and lung diseases to particulate matter emitted by ships. (141)

Electric Vehicles

Electric cars have been romanced for nearly two hundred years, since the first prototype was built in 1828. In 1891, Henry Ford worked for Thomas Edison at the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit. (142)

Two-thirds of the world’s oil consumption is used to fuel cars and trucks. (142)

Carbon dioxide emission per gallon of gasoline is 25 pounds, whereas the emissions for 10 kilowatt-hours of electricity are 12.2 pounds on average–a 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide if power comes off the grid. If the electricity is derived from solar, carbon dioxide emissions fall by 95 percent. (142)


Electric Bikes


Between engine heat loss, wind and rolling resistance, braking, idling, and other drags on performance, only 21 percent of a petrol car’s energy consumption propels it forward on average. Of the resulting force, 95 percent powers the car, not the driver. In essence, 99 percent of the energy used in a car is waste: It moves three thousand pounds of steel, glass, copper, and plastic in order to move a 150-pound human being. (149)


…producing at minimum 2.5 percent of annual emissions. (150)


The greenest gallon of gas, diesel, heating oil, or ton of coal is the one you don’t burn. – Ray Anderson

Swap the word greenest with cheapest and the same holds true. (153)

Making up just over 4 percent of vehicles in the United States and 9 percent of total mileage, they consume more than 25 percent of the fuel. Worldwide, road freight is responsible for about 6 percent of all emissions. (153)




Household Recycling

The process of diverting and recovering waste material is sometimes called valorization. The term refers to extracting the value that an item retains when it is thrown away (“away” being a misnomer). Recycled materials actually have two sources of value as commodities but also as sinks. The first is what typically comes to mind: the fiber remaining in paper, for example, that can be reprocessed into recycled pulp. … The second, often-ignored value of recycling is as a sink. It absorbs the economic, social, and ecological costs otherwise incurred by sending waste to landfills or incinerators. In both of these ways diversion creates value, saving on a range of costs and–especially in the case of metals and paper–creating income. (159)

Industrial Recycling

Take, make, waste–the modus operandi of the industrial era. … Today, a new circular way of thinking is beginning to replace that logic. In nature, cycles abound. (160)

…while recycling happens at the end of life, it is best considered from the beginning. (161)

cf. Net-Works

Alternative Cement

Manufacturing a single ton of cement requires the equivalent energy of burning four hundred pounds of coal. Add those emissions up and for every ton of cement produced, nearly one ton of carbon dioxide puffs skyward. In total, the industry produces roughly 4.6 billion tons of cement each year, more than half of it in China, and generates 5 to 6 percent of society’s annual anthropogenic carbon emissions in the process. (162)


According to the Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory, 700 million air-conditioning units will have come online worldwide by 2030. (164)

Refrigerants currently cause emissions throughout their life cycles–in production, filling, service, and when they leak–but their damage is greatest at the point of disposal. Ninety percent of refrigerant emissions happen at end of life. …refrigerant recovery has immense mitigation potential. After being carefully removed and stored, refrigerants can be purified for reuse or transformed into other chemicals that do not cause warming. The latter process, formally called destruction, is the one way to reduce emissions definitively. It is costly and technical, but it needs to become standard practice. (164)

Recycled Paper

…the emissions of the paper industry, which are estimated to be as high as 7 percent of the world’s annual total–higher than that of aviation. (167)

Photographer Chris Jordan created a mandala in 2011 from 9,600 mail order catalogs. It represents the number of catalogs printed, shipped, and delivered every three seconds, 97 percent of which are disposed of the day they arrive. This is part of a larger series titled “Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait.” This piece is called Three Second Meditation.

Unlike some recyclable materials, such as aluminum, paper cannot be recycled indefinitely into the same quality of product. Its fibers break down over time, so wastepaper intrinsically becomes a lower-quality product, for which shorter, weaker fibers are suited. A particular piece of paper can be reprocessed roughly five to seven times. Even so, recycling is an effective and efficient alternative to making paper solely from virgin materials. (167)

A study of studies, conducted by the European Environmental Paper Network, calculates that virgin-fiber paper emits an average of 10.67 tons of carbon dioxide (or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases) per ton of paper product, while recycled paper comes in at just 2.92 tons. That is more than a 70 percent difference. A recent life cycle assessment compares postconsumer recycled paper to its virgin alternatives. The analysis finds that production of recycled paper generates just 1 percent of the climate impacts virgin paper creates. Moreover, it consumes a quarter of the amount of water required for the same quantity of product, and requires 20 to 50 percent less energy for pulping and papermaking. (167)


The first and only bioplastic car was unveiled by Henry Ford in 1941 in Dearborn, Michigan. The car was inspired by the growing shortage of metal due to the war, as well as by the idea of combining industry with agriculture. He already had established the Soybean Laboratory in Greenfield Village at the time, and had made the fuel for the car from hemp oil. The frame was tubular steel, the body was plastic, the windows were acrylic, and it was powered by a conventional 60-horsepower engine. The finished car weighed 1,000 pounds less than its conventional, all-steel counterpart. Though it was created in part to aid the war effort, most car manufacturing ceased for the duration of the war and the bioplastic car was never revived.

Ours could be called the Age of Plastic. Globally, we produce roughly 310 million tons of plastic each year. That is 83 pounds per person, and plastic production is expected to quadruple by 2050. …5 to 6 percent of the world’s annual oil production becomes feedstock for plastic manufacturing. …experts estimate that 90 percent of current plastics could be derived from plants or other renewable feedstock instead. Such bio-based plastics come from the earth and many can return to it, often with lower carbon emissions than their fossil fuel-based kin. (168)

| The Greek verb plassein, the root of plastic, means “to mold or shape.” (168)

Perhapst the biggest problem facing bioplastics is that they are not conventional plastics. Bioplastics cannot be composted unless separated from other plastics, and few will compost in the garden bin. They require high heat to be broken down or special chemical recycling. If bioplastics are intermixed with conventional plastics, conventional recycled plastic is contaminated, rendering it unstable, brittle, and unusable. Without source separation and appropriate processing, bioplastic is all dressed up with nowhere to go in most municipal waste streams except into the dump. (169

Water Saving–Home

Using water at home–to shower, do laundry, soak plants–consumes energy. It takes energy to clean and transport water, to heat it if need be, and to handle wastewater after use. Hot water is responsible for a quarter of residential energy use worldwide. (170)

…low flush toilets and water-efficient washing machines, which can reduce use by 19 and 17 percent respectively. (170)


Repopulating the Mammoth Steppe

Grazing animals create pastures just as pastures create grazers. (172)

Its name presumes permanence–perma–a condition that is no longer true. It is thawing. (172)

If the diverse species of herbivores that once populated the subpolar region of the Arctic are brought back, permafrost melting can be prevented. … If it came to pass, it would be the single largest solution or potential solution of the one hundred described in this book. (172)

Although the atmosphere is warming evenly at sixty thousand feet, at ground level the Arctic regions are warming much faster than temperate and equatorial regions, and changes in flora are a cause. (174)

When herbivores were free to roam, the earth supported twice the number and weight of animals that humans raise today in ranches, feedlots, and animal factories. In the mammoth steppe, considered unlivable to all but a hardy few, the benefit of returning it to its wild origins would be immense.

Pasture Cropping

Pasture cropping is singular in its methodology in that it increases the use of the land by double-cropping (grains and animals) while reducing impact and increasing carbon sequestration. (175)

Enhanced Weathering of Minerals

Natural rock weathering removes approximately 1 billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide annually. Various types of silicate rock on the surface of the earth are weathered by mildly acidic carbon dioxide and dissolved in rainwater, which transforms the carbon dioxide into dissolved inorganic carbonates. These carbonates find their way into streams, rivers, and oceans, eventually becoming calcium carbonate. (177)

Marine Permaculture

In other words, human intervention can increase wildlife, fertility, carbon storage, diversity, fresh water, and rainfall. This entire book asks whether, as a species, we can reverse global warming. To do that, the demise of living ecosystems needs to be reversed. Marine permaculture may be one of the most extraordinary ways to answer that question affirmatively. (179)

…what if you could reforest the ocean? (179)

Intensive Silvopasture

The theory is simple: Combine trees or woody shrubs and pasture grasses to foster greater yields. (181)

In a five-year study of intensive silvopasture in which trees were incorporated with grasses and Leucaena leucocephala, the rate of carbon sequestration exceeded an extraordinary ten tons per acre. (181)

Artificial Leaf

The industry calls this a renewable fuel, but that stretches the meaning of the concept. The process is heavily dependent on diesel, oil, gasoline, electricity, and subsidies. When fully calculated, corn-based ethanol produces slightly more energy than was required to produce it. If you add emissions from land use, groundwater depletion, loss of biodiversity, and the impacts of nitrogen fertilizers, the benefit to the atmosphere is debatable. Corn’s highest and best use is as staple food for people who are hungry, not as ethanol powering an SUV. (182)

Autonomous Vehicles

Americans spend $2 trillion per yeaer on car ownership; and cars are used 4 percent of the time. The contemporary car is not a driving machine but a parking machine for which 700 million parking spaces have been built–an area equivalent to the state of Connecticut. If the populace were to undergo a shift nad view mobility as a service…the material, infrastructure, and health-care savings would be immense. (185)

Solid-State Wave Energy

Living Buildings

In 2000, the U.S. Green Building Council unveiled its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program… (188)

Six years after LEED standards were established,…the Living Building Challenge (LBC). … These seven categories are called “petals”: Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. (188)

The Imperatives

  1. Limits to growth. Only build on a previously developed site, not on or adjacent to virgin land.
  2. Urban agriculture. A living building must have the capacity to grow and store food, based on its floor area ratio.
  3. Habitat exchange. For each acre of development, an acre of habitat must be set aside in perpetuity.
  4. Human-powered living. A living building must contribute to a walkable, bikeable, pedestrian-friendly community.
  5. Net positive water. Rainwater capture and recycling must exceed usage.
  6. Net positive energy. At least 105 percent of energy used must come from on-site renewables.
  7. Civilized environment. A living building must have operable windows or fresh air, daylight, and views.
  8. Healthy interior environment. A living building must have impeccably clean and refreshed air.
  9. Biophilic environment. Design must include elements that nurture the human and nature connection.
  10. Red List. A living building must contain no toxic materials or chemicals, per the LBC Red List.
  11. Embodied carbon footprint. Carbon embodied in construction must be offset.
  12. Responsible industry. All timber must be Forest Stewardship Council certified or come from salvage or the building site itself.
  13. Living economy sourcing. Acquisition of materials and services must support local economies.
  14. Net positive waste. Construction must divert 90 to 100 percent of waste by weight.
  15. Human scale and humane places. The project must meet special specifications to orient toward humans rather than cars.
  16. Universal access to nature and place. Infrastructure must be equally accessible to all, and fresh air, sunlight, and natural waterways must be available.
  17. Equitable investment. A half percent of investment dollars must be donated to charity.
  18. JUST organization. At least one entity involved must be a certified JUST organization, indicating transparent and socially just business operations.
  19. Beauty and spirit. Public art and design features must be incorporated to elevate and delight the spirit.
  20. Inspiration and education. A project must engage in educating children and citizens. (189)

On Care for Our Common Home

cf. Laudato Si

95. The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.

139. When we speak of the “environment”, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it. … We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.

160. What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? This question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal. When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind, we think in the first place of its general direction, its meaning and its values. Unless we struggle with these deeper issues, I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results. But if these issues are courageously faced, we are led inexorably to ask other pointed questions: What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us? It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.

Direct Air Capture

…many companies are building on the chemistry of amines (ammonia-like compounds) prevalent in traditional industrial carbon dioxide-capture processes. … Some DAC innovators are using novel materials for carbon dioxide capture, such as anionic exchange resins. (192)

…pipeline-scale quantities of carbon dioxide used for oil production in the United States can cost as little as $10 to $40 per ton of carbon dioxide, well below the $100 per ton (or more) for DAC-captured carbon dioxide in early prototypes. (192)

Hydrogen-Boron Fusion

cf. Tri Alpha Energy (TAE)

Inside TAE’s company lobby in Irvine, California, there is a basket of pink rubber pigs with wings that exemplify the company’s attitude toward a skeptical world. Apparently, pigs may fly soon. (195)

Smart Highways


Microbial Farming

At present, converting nitrogen to ammonia for fertilizer requires 1.2 percent of the world’s energy use. The process creates emissions from fossil fuel energy generation, and much of that nitrogen ends up in the sky as nitrous oxides–a greenhouse gass 298 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over the course of a century. (201)

It comes down to a simple fact: Plants and soil feed upon each other. If that cycle is interrupted by synthetics, whether they be fertilizers or pesticides, the plant is weakened and the soil is diminished in fertility and life. (201)

Soil quality is declining the world, presenting humankind with a choice: Try to correct this with yet more chemicals or build a healthy soil ecosystem. By inoculating degraded and diminished soils with combinations of organisms that are symbiotic with the crops and foods people want, agriculture can create a virtuous circle, doing what life does. In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions conducive to life, and there is reason to believe that a new era in agriculture is beginning, one that will fulfill both of its mandates: clean, plentiful, nutritious food along with truly sustainable farming practices that continuously create a more vibrant and nurturing planet for all. (201)

Industrial Hemp

The word canvas is derived from cannabis (the French canevas). … Cotton is the dirtiest crop in the world with respect to chemical use and is largely dependent on fossil fuel inputs. Though cultivated on 2.5 percent of all cropland, cotton accounts for 16 percent of annual insecticide use. … Nearly 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from cotton production. Total emission for a white cotton shirt from field to customer are 80 pounds of carbon dioxide. (202)

Hemp is an annual, so it gets rotated to address fertility. However, it does not require the same tillage as a typical annual crop. It is planted close together and grows so quickly that it acts as an herbicide, crowding and shading out weeds such as thistle. And no insecticides are needed or used. (202)

Perennial Crops

There is perhaps no greater contribution to soil health and carbon sequestration (or emissions reduction) than the ability to farm without disturbing the soil. (203)

A Cow Walks onto a Beach

From ancient Greece to Iceland, seaweeds have been used as livestock feed for thousands of years–especially in winter, when forage is sparse. … Methane, the key waste product generated when cows process their food, dropped by 12 percent on Dorgan’s diet [seaweed fed]. (204)

Cows belong to a family of animals known as ruminants, named for the organ they share–a stomach compartment called the rumen, where chewed food gets digested by bacteria, then arises as cud to be chewed and swallowed again. This gassy microbial process allows cows, sheep, goats, and buffalo to digest food high in cellulose, such as grass. The result is methane waste expelled from both ends of the animal–90 percent through (204) burps. Around the world, these small discharges add up to 39 percent of all emissions from global livestock production and a quarter of the world’s methane pollution. (205)

Asparagopsis taxiformis. This species of red algae grows in warm waters around the world … In the artificial rumen, Asparagopsis taxiformis reduced methane production by 99 percent–and required a dose of just 2 percent of feed to do so. In live sheep, the same dose led to a 70 to 80 percent drop in methane. (205)

Asparagopsis taxiformis contains a key compound called bromoform. In a key step of ruminant digestion, bacteria in the rumen typically employ enzymes that create methane as waste. Bromoform reacts with vitamin B12 and disrupts that process. In the absence of Asparagopsis taxiformis and its bromoform, ruminants lose 2 to 15 percent of the energy in their feed to waste methane (exact loss varies by diet). Like all waste, methane points to inefficiency in the system: Part of the food ruminants consume is not being converted to body mass. By reducing off-gassing, bormoform may both avert emissions and improve production. (205)

Ocean Farming

…there are more than ten thousand edible plants in the ocean. (207)

Because ocean farms require no fresh water, no deforestation, and no fertilizer–all significant downsides to land-based farming–they promise to be more sustainable than the most environmentally sensitive traditional farms. (207)

Unlike land-based biofuel crops, seaweed farming does not require fertilizers, forest clearing, water, or heavy use of fuel-burning machinery; as a result it has a negative carbon footprint, according to the World Bank. While the technology is still in development, farmers are eager to begin growing their own fuel and creating closed-loop energy farms. (208)

Smart Grids

Building with Wood

…the process of producing those materials generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than producing wood’s alternatives. Cement, used in concrete and other building materials, is responsible for producing 5 to 6 percent of global emissions, twice as much as the aviation industry. Steel comes in nearly as high: Manufacturing steel beams requires six to twelve times more fossil fuel than producing laminated timber. Additionally, when a wood building comes to the end of its life, its component parts can find new life in other buildings, be composted, or be used as fuel. (211)

Whereas steel bends in fire, wood forms a protective char on the outside, keeping its structural integrity within. (211)


…here is what I love about the scientific method. Though culture holds its finger on the scale, it cannot stop the restless search for measurable truth. (213)

An Opening

For both the rich and the poor,
life is dominated by an ever growing current of problems,
most of which seem to have no real and lasting solution.
…the ultimate source of all these problems is in thought itself,
the very thing of which our civilization is most proud,
and therefore the one thing that is “hidden”
because of our failure seriously to engage with its actual working
in our individual lives and in the life of society.

– David Bohm and Mark Edwards, Changing Consciousness

The logical way to read this book is to use it to identify how you can make a difference. How each person thinks and perceives his or her role and responsibility in the world is the first step in any transformation–the base upon which all change depends. (216)

To be effective, we require and deserve a conversation that includes possibility and opportunity, not repetitive emphasis on our undoing. (216)

| That conversation needs to extend beyond the individual, because any idea that we exist as isolated beings is a myth. We are all intricate, interconnected parts of complex social structures and cultures, and more broadly of the entire web of life–the ultimate source of water, food, fiber, medicines, inspiration, beauty, art, and joy. (216)

The problem [Bill McKibben] writes, is with the very pronoun “I.” (216)

What individuals can do is become a movement. (216)

Movements are what take five or ten percent of people and make them decisive–because in a world where apathy rules, five or ten percent is an enormous number. – Bill McKibben

Movements are dreams with feet and hands, hearts and voices. (216)

Restoration creates more jobs and despoliation. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future rather than stealing it. (217)

It is difficult to watch the accelerating breakdown of our environmental systems or witness the worldwide breakdown of civility into camps, ideologies, and wars. What stands before us, however, is not the choosing of sides but the gift of seeing who we are as stewards of the planet. (217)

Science knows that virtually all children exhibit altruistic behavior, even before they can talk. It turns out that concern for the well-being of others is bred in the bone, endemic and hard-wired. We became human beings by working together and helping one another. That remains true today. What it takes to reverse global warming is one person after another remembering who we truly are. – Paul Hawken (217)


What Do The Numbers Tell Us?

Rank & Results by 2050 Reduced CO2 (gigatons) Net Cost ($) Net Savings ($)
Wind Turbines #2 (onshore) 84.6 $1.23 trillion $7.4 trillion
Wind Turbines #22 (offshore) 14.1 $572.4 billion $274.6 billion
Microgrids #78
Geothermal #18 16.6 -$155.5 billion $1.02 trillion
Solar Farms #8 36.9 -$80.6 billion $5.02 trillion
Rooftop Solar #10 24.6 $453.1 billion $3.46 trillion
Wave and Tidal #29 9.2 $411.8 billion -$1 trillion
Concentrated Solar #25 10.9 $2.32 trillion $413.9 billion
Biomass #34 7.5 $402.3 billion $519.4 billion
Nuclear #20 16.09 $0.88 billion $1.7 trillion
Cogeneration #50 3.97 $279.3 billion $567 billion
Micro Wind #76 0.2 $36.1 billion $19.9 billion
Methane Digesters (large) #30 8.4 $201.4 billion $148.8 billion
Methane Digesters (small) #64 1.9 $15.5 billion $13.9 billion
In-Stream Hydro #48 4 $202.5 billion $568.4 billion
Waste-To-Energy #68 1.1 $36 billion $19.8 billion
Grid Flexibility #77
Energy Storage (Utilities) #77
Energy Storage (Distributed) #77
Solar Water #41 6.08 $3 billion $773.7 billion
Plant-Rich Diet #4 66.11 Too variable TBD Too variable TBD
Farmland Restoration #23 14.08 $72.2 billion $1.34 trillion
Reduced Food Waste #3 70.53 Too variable TBD Too variable TBD
Clean Cookstoves #21 15.81 $72.2 billion $166.3 billion
Multistrata Agroforestry #28 9.28 $26.8 billion $709.8 billion
Improved Rice Cultivation #24 11.34 No additional costs $519.1
System of Rice Intensification #53 3.13 No additional costs $677.8 billion
Silvopasture #9 31.19 $41.6 billion $699.4 billion
Regenerative Agriculture #11 23.15 $57.2 billion $1.93 trillion
Nutrient Management #65 1.81 Too variable TBD $102.3 billion
Tree Intercropping #17 17.2 $147 billion $22.1 billion
Conservation Agriculture #16 7.35 $37.5 billion $2.12 trillion
Composting #60 2.28 -$63.7 billion -$60.8 billion
Biochar #72 .81 Too variable TBD Too variable TBD
Tropical Staple Trees #14 20.19 $120.1 billion $627 billion
Farmland Irrigation #67 1.33 $216.2 billion $429.7 billion
Managed Grazing #19 15.34 $50.5 billion $735.3 billion
Women Smallholders #62 2.06 Too variable TBD $87.6 billion
Family Planning #7 59.6 Inappropriate to Monetize a Human Right
Educating Girls #6 59.6 See Impact
Net Zero Buildings #79 Cost and Savings modeled in renewable energy, LED lighting, heat pumps, insulation, etc.
Walkable Cities #54 2.92 Too variable to be modeled $3.28 trillion
Bike Infrastructure #59 2.31 -$2.03 trillion $400.5 billion
Green Roofs #73 0.77 $1.39 trillion $988.5 billion
LED Lighting (household) #33 7.81 $323.5 billion $1.73 trillion
LED Lighting (commercial) #44 5.04 -$205.1 billion $1.09 trillion
Heat Pumps $42 5.2 $118.7 billion $1.55 trillion
Smart Glass #61 2.19 $74.2 billion $325.1 billion
Smart Thermostats #57 2.62 -$74.2 billion $640.1 billion
District Heating #27 9.38 $457.1 billion $3.54 trillion
Landfill Methane #58 2.5 -$1.8 billion $67.8 billion
Insulation #31 8.27 $3.66 trillion $2.54 trillion
Retrofitting #80 Cost and savings modeled in renewable energy, LED lighting, heat pumps, insulation, etc.
Water Distribution #71 0.87 $137.4 billion $903.1 billion
Building Automation #45 4.62 $68.1 billion $880.6 billion
LAND USE        
Forest Protection #38 6.2


896.29 gigatons CO2 protected

Too variable TBD.
Coastal Wetlands #52 3.19


53.34 gigatons CO2 protected

Too variable TBD.
Tropical Forests #5 61.23 Too variable TBD.
Bamboo #35 7.22 $23.8 billion $264.8 billion
Perennial Biomass #51 3.33 $77.9 billion $541.9 billion
Peatlands #13 21.57


1,230.38 gigatons CO2 protected

Too variable TBD.
Indigenous Peoples’ Land Management #39 6.19


849.37 gigatons CO2 protected

Too variable TBD.
Temperate Forests #12 22.61 Too variable TBD.
Afforestation #15 18.06 $29.4 billion $392.3 billion
Mass Transit #37 6.57 Too variable TBD. $2.38 trillion
High-Speed Rail #66 1.42 $1.05 trillion $310.8 billion
Ships #32 7.87 $915.9 billion $424.4 billion
Electric Vehicles #26 10.8 $14.15 trillion $9.73
Ridsharing #75 .32 Zero $185.6 billion
Electric Bikes #69 .96 $106.8 billion $226.1 billion
Cars #49 4 -$598.7 billion $1.76 trillion
Airplanes #43 5.05 $662.4 billion $3.19 trillion
Trucks #40 6.18 $543.5 billion $2.78 trillion
Telepresence #63 1.99 $127.7 billion $1.31 trillion
Trains #74 .52 $808.6 billion $313.9 billion
Household Recycling #55 2.77 $366.9 billion $71.1 billion
Industrial Recycling #56 2.77 $366.9 billion $71.1 billion
Alternative Cement #36 6.69 -$273.9 billion Data too indefinite to be modeled
Refrigeration #1 89.74 Too variable TBD. -$902.8 billion
Recycled Paper #70 .9 $573.5 billion Data too indefinite to be modeled
Bioplastic #47 4.3 $19.2 billion Data too indefinite to be modeled
Water Saving—Home #46 4.61 $72.44 billion $1.8 trillion

Summary of Solutions by: Overall Ranking

Rank & Results by 2050 Reduced CO2 (gigatons) Net Cost ($) Net Savings ($)
Refrigeration MATERIALS #1 89.74 Too variable TBD. -$902.8 billion
Wind Turbines ENERGY #2 (onshore) 84.6 $1.23 trillion $7.4 trillion
Reduced Food Waste FOOD #3 70.53 Too variable TBD Too variable TBD
Plant-Rich Diet FOOD #4 66.11 Too variable TBD Too variable TBD
Tropical Forests LAND USE #5 61.23 Too variable TBD.
Educating Girls WOMEN AND GIRLS #6 59.6 See Impact
Family Planning WOMEN AND GIRLS #7 59.6 Inappropriate to Monetize a Human Right
Solar Farms ENERGY #8 36.9 -$80.6 billion $5.02 trillion
Silvopasture FOOD #9 31.19 $41.6 billion $699.4 billion
Rooftop Solar ENERGY #10 24.6 $453.1 billion $3.46 trillion
Regenerative Agriculture FOOD #11 23.15 $57.2 billion $1.93 trillion
Temperate Forests LAND USE #12 22.61 Too variable TBD.
Peatlands LAND USE #13 21.57


1,230.38 gigatons CO2 protected

Too variable TBD.
Tropical Staple Trees FOOD #14 20.19 $120.1 billion $627 billion
Afforestation LAND USE #15 18.06 $29.4 billion $392.3 billion
Conservation Agriculture FOOD #16 7.35 $37.5 billion $2.12 trillion
Tree Intercropping FOOD #17 17.2 $147 billion $22.1 billion
Geothermal ENERGY #18 16.6 -$155.5 billion $1.02 trillion
Managed Grazing FOOD #19 15.34 $50.5 billion $735.3 billion
Nuclear ENERGY #20 16.09 $0.88 billion $1.7 trillion
Clean Cookstoves FOOD #21 15.81 $72.2 billion $166.3 billion
Wind Turbines ENERGY #22 (offshore) 14.1 $572.4 billion $274.6 billion
Farmland Restoration FOOD #23 14.08 $72.2 billion $1.34 trillion
Improved Rice Cultivation FOOD #24 11.34 No additional costs $519.1
Concentrated Solar ENERGY #25 10.9 $2.32 trillion $413.9 billion
Electric Vehicles TRANSPORT #26 10.8 $14.15 trillion $9.73
District Heating BUILDINGS AND CITIES #27 9.38 $457.1 billion $3.54 trillion
Multistrata Agroforestry FOOD #28 9.28 $26.8 billion $709.8 billion
Wave and Tidal ENERGY #29 9.2 $411.8 billion -$1 trillion
Methane Digesters (large) ENERGY #30 8.4 $201.4 billion $148.8 billion
Insulation BUILDINGS AND CITIES #31 8.27 $3.66 trillion $2.54 trillion
Ships TRANSPORT #32 7.87 $915.9 billion $424.4 billion
LED Lighting (household) BUILDINGS AND CITIES #33 7.81 $323.5 billion $1.73 trillion
Biomass ENERGY #34 7.5 $402.3 billion $519.4 billion
Bamboo LAND USE #35 7.22 $23.8 billion $264.8 billion
Alternative Cement MATERIALS #36 6.69 -$273.9 billion Data too indefinite to be modeled
Mass Transit TRANSPORT #37 6.57 Too variable TBD. $2.38 trillion
Forest Protection LAND USE #38 6.2


896.29 gigatons CO2 protected

Too variable TBD.
Indigenous Peoples’ Land Management LAND USE #39 6.19


849.37 gigatons CO2 protected

Too variable TBD.
Trucks TRANSPORT #40 6.18 $543.5 billion $2.78 trillion
Solar Water ENERGY #41 6.08 $3 billion $773.7 billion
Heat Pumps BUILDINGS AND CITIES #42 5.2 $118.7 billion $1.55 trillion
Airplanes TRANSPORT #43 5.05 $662.4 billion $3.19 trillion
LED Lighting (commercial) BUILDINGS AND CITIES #44 5.04 -$205.1 billion $1.09 trillion
Building Automation BUILDINGS AND CITIES #45 4.62 $68.1 billion $880.6 billion
Water Saving—Home MATERIALS #46 4.61 $72.44 billion $1.8 trillion
Bioplastic MATERIALS #47 4.3 $19.2 billion Data too indefinite to be modeled
In-Stream Hydro ENERGY #48 4 $202.5 billion $568.4 billion
Cars TRANSPORT #49 4 -$598.7 billion $1.76 trillion
Cogeneration ENERGY #50 3.97 $279.3 billion $567 billion
Perennial Biomass LAND USE #51 3.33 $77.9 billion $541.9 billion
Coastal Wetlands LAND USE #52 3.19


53.34 gigatons CO2 protected

Too variable TBD.
System of Rice Intensification FOOD #53 3.13 No additional costs $677.8 billion
Walkable Cities BUILDINGS AND CITIES #54 2.92 Too variable to be modeled $3.28 trillion
Household Recycling MATERIALS #55 2.77 $366.9 billion $71.1 billion
Industrial Recycling MATERIALS #56 2.77 $366.9 billion $71.1 billion
Smart Thermostats BUILDINGS AND CITIES #57 2.62 -$74.2 billion $640.1 billion
Landfill Methane BUILDINGS AND CITIES #58 2.5 -$1.8 billion $67.8 billion
Bike Infrastructure BUILDINGS AND CITIES #59 2.31 -$2.03 trillion $400.5 billion
Composting FOOD #60 2.28 -$63.7 billion -$60.8 billion
Smart Glass BUILDINGS AND CITIES #61 2.19 $74.2 billion $325.1 billion
Women Smallholders WOMEN AND GIRLS #62 2.06 Too variable TBD $87.6 billion
Telepresence TRANSPORT #63 1.99 $127.7 billion $1.31 trillion
Methane Digesters (small) ENERGY #64 1.9 $15.5 billion $13.9 billion
Nutrient Management FOOD #65 1.81 Too variable TBD $102.3 billion
High-Speed Rail TRANSPORT #66 1.42 $1.05 trillion $310.8 billion
Farmland Irrigation FOOD #67 1.33 $216.2 billion $429.7 billion
Waste-To-Energy ENERGY #68 1.1 $36 billion $19.8 billion
Electric Bikes TRANSPORT #69 .96 $106.8 billion $226.1 billion
Recycled Paper MATERIALS #70 .9 $573.5 billion Data too indefinite to be modeled
Water Distribution BUILDINGS AND CITIES #71 0.87 $137.4 billion $903.1 billion
Biochar FOOD #72 .81 Too variable TBD Too variable TBD
Green Roofs BUILDINGS AND CITIES #73 0.77 $1.39 trillion $988.5 billion
Trains TRANSPORT #74 .52 $808.6 billion $313.9 billion
Ridsharing TRANSPORT #75 .32 Zero $185.6 billion
Micro Wind ENERGY #76 0.2 $36.1 billion $19.9 billion
Grid Flexibility ENERGY #77
Energy Storage (Utilities) ENERGY #77
Energy Storage (Distributed) ENERGY #77
Microgrids ENERGY #78
Net Zero Buildings BUILDINGS AND CITIES #79 Cost and Savings modeled in renewable energy, LED lighting, heat pumps, insulation, etc.
Retrofitting BUILDINGS AND CITIES #80 Cost and savings modeled in renewable energy, LED lighting, heat pumps, insulation, etc.


Summary of Solutions by: Summary by Sector

Drawdown Fellows

Drawdown Advisors



Photograph Credits


About VIA



  1. Pingback: A Life on Our Planet | Reflections & Notes | vialogue

  2. Pingback: All We Can Save | Reflections & Notes | vialogue

  3. Pingback: Saving Us | Reflections & Notes | vialogue

  4. Pingback: A Bigger Picture | Reflections & Notes | vialogue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: