Project Drawdown – What is it, and what can it tell us about climate savvy work?

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This is a five part series on what we can forecast about jobs from the research done to identify Project Drawdown solutions!

If you haven’t yet seen Project Drawdown, both a website and a book (edited by Paul Hawken), go take a look. Drawdown is a ranked list of solutions that reduce the greenhouse gasses in Earth’s atmosphere. Simple in concept, complex in the making, the list was compiled from data and analysis across multiple sectors and sources, and done by experts in the relevant fields. Drawdown answers the fundamental question: how can we best remove carbon and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere? It is the first time we can compare diverse strategies, in different settings.

Drawdown’s calculations are useful because we can see:
– Emissions that are avoided or removed from the atmosphere
– Strategies ranked by effectiveness
– In 7 sectors: electricity generation, food, women and girls, buildings and cities, land use, transport, materials, and a category they call coming attractions

Researchers evaluated many different solutions taking into account whether the solution was available and scale-able, and economically viable. The reduction potential of the solution was reviewed to discern if the solution had the potential to reduce greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere by at least 50 million tons over 30 years. Researchers also considered any negative results, and if there were some negative effects considered if they be outweighed by positive ones. Finally, they considered if there was enough data to model the solutions at a global scale.

These solutions can point us to climate savvy work, both now and in the future.

One can think of Drawdown’s solutions as an extensive job creation strategy. Job seekers and career changers for whom climate change and sustainability are central values have a list of possible fields of work within which their efforts would help to reverse climate change. Training programs, both secondary and post-secondary, as well as credit-free, can incorporate training for these possible fields into training of aligned and related fields. Additionally, with political will, we can – on the local, state, regional, national and international levels – simultaneously prioritize job creation and climate change reversal – we can simultaneously drive demand and increase the depth of the trained labor pool.


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