Last night, I got to meet one of my all-time heroes. Paul Hawken is the author of the New York Times Best Seller, DRAWDOWN: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. In this book, he and his colleagues outline solutions being implemented around the world to reverse the effects of global warming. Actions like solar energy and the education of women are high on the list to positively impact environmental change. This is not your average book on climate change, this book provides solutions and answers that are backed by research- just look at the numbers! I can go on and on about the book and how it can be a blueprint for our future as a society, but you should read it. Instead, I’d like to talk about Paul.
Mr. Hawken got his start as an English major. Not an environmental scientist or climate enthusiast. Paul was more interested in the irregularity that nature provided and chose to explore it in his early childhood. Like most of my favorite authors, the environment spoke to Paul, it provided him a safe place while still remaining unpredictable. His curiosity was piqued. And luckily for all of us, it was this background that provided him the necessary framework to engage the world in a climate discussion.
I arrived about 10 minutes late to his lecture in Harris Theater on George Mason’s campus. The room was packed but I quickly found my seat with my parents, I was beaming ear to ear. I saw our neighbors, who were hosting the event, sitting in the front row. As I listened to Mr. Hawken speak, my heart filled with gratitude for our family friends. I am 26, a millennial, and it was one of the first times since canvassing for environmental policy reform that I felt connected to the generations ahead of me. We are not alone in our quest to bring greenhouse gasses back to Earth.
Just a quick reminder to, if you haven’t already, READ THIS BOOK. It will become your guide for the future. If you like $$$, you will want to invest in these technologies. You like people? Then you will want to help these humanitarian groups. You’re a female rights activist? Fight climate change by educating young girls, empower them to have control over their own lives. There is something in this book for everyone, because nature is our common language.
Which brings me to my favorite part of Paul Hawken’s talk last night. Paul points out that the Earth has been through much worse than what we’re doing to it right now. The planet will bounce back, it will be fine. The point here is that if we continue on this track, civilization as we know it will cease to exist. This isn’t about saving the environment, it’s about saving our society. When we make this change in our patterns of speech, we remove the divider. We are all human and it is in our best interest to protect humanity.
Scholars and scientists around the world rallied around the idea of having a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming. This book is the culmination of efforts being taken all across the globe. Never underestimate the value of your small actions. Bring your bag. Use your own tupperware for left overs. Compost. Ride your bike. And most importantly, have the conversation, talk to your neighbor, change your behavior and be a part of the solution.
The book breaks down as follows:
Women and Girls
The feel-good book of the year. Thank you, Paul Hawken, for reminding us that how we speak about solutions matters.