How Can We Help Save the Earth? Paul Hawken Has a Plan in DRAWDOWN
With Earth Day 2017 almost here, this week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection is Paul Hawken’s DRAWDOWN: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, on sale April 18 from Penguin Books. Mr. Hawken says, “Unquestionably, distress signals are flashing throughout nature and society, from drought, sea level rise, and unrelenting increases in temperatures to immigration, conflict, and dislocation. This is not the whole story.
“We have endeavored in DRAWDOWN to show that many people are staunchly and unwaveringly on the case. Although carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use have a two-century head start on these solutions, we will take those odds. The build-up 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 preceded us. If we change the preposition, however, 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 can 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.”
Viking Executive Editor Rick Kot: “When Paul pitched the idea for DRAWDOWN to me several years ago over dinner, I was skeptical. By that point I’d worked with him on three books on environmentalism and activism that had become classics in their field, and there are few writers I enjoy working with as much as I do Paul. For an editor it’s equivalent to being on a vacation to be able to engage in ideas rather than the body and fender jobs that many manuscripts require, and Paul’s ideas always leave me challenged and inspired by the possible future a genuine visionary can imagine.
“But a book about ways to reverse global warming? Wouldn’t that be chasing a moving target, given the rapidly changing pace of technology? When I raised that point, he countered by asking me to guess what the biggest factor would be in the carbon reduction effort, and after I ran through the usual suspects (cars, coal, etc.) he told it me was women’s education. That was, granted, a great ‘gotcha!’ but I still was dubious, and for the next year or so we circled around the project, with Paul patiently sending me more and more compelling research that the DRAWDOWN team was compiling. When I presented it to Penguin and the Academic Promotions Department, both saw the potential, and a contract was soon signed.
“In the time since we made that deal, climate change has become an issue of even greater concern, not only because of the ever more alarming findings of the effects of global warming, but on the recent actions undertaken by the government to reverse the policies that address it. As several early reviews of DRAWDOWN have noted, the book could not have been published at a better time, as it offers solutions that are practical, imaginative, scalable, and economical. When I first read the manuscript, I was expecting an encyclopedic overview of the latest research in the area. While all that science is definitely a fundamental aspect of the book, it’s so much more than that, as it takes in cultural history, ethnography, botany, design, and many other fields. It’s an engagingly readable book—few writers in this area have Paul’s lyrical touch—and one that surprises on every page. For those of us old enough to remember it, DRAWDOWN will be reminiscent of the epochal Whole Earth Catalog: a window into another world, and a door to lead you there.”
Media praise for the book has been nothing short of amazing. Outside Magazine calls it a “bold plan to beat back climate change” while Fast Company, who profiled Mr. Hawken for their “World Changing Ideas” column, describes the book as a “blueprint for what comes next if the U.S. government (and the global community) begins to aggressively focus on altering the climate future.”
On tour, Paul will give 13 presentations on DRAWDOWN in 10 cities, including Santa Barbara, California where he will be awarded the Environmental Hero Award, presented by actor Jeff Bridges along with the President of Santa Barbara City College.