Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

By: John A. Lanier

Our foundational question is simple – what climate solutions have the greatest potential to reverse global warming right here in our state?

It’s been a number of years since I read Paul Hawken’s 2007 book Blessed Unrest, but it’s one of those books that often echoes in my thoughts. As Paul usually does, he saw something before others noticed and then wrote a book about it. In Blessed Unrest, the something he saw was a growing worldwide movement around social and environmental justice and activism.

What I found most interesting about Paul’s observation was how this movement was simultaneously local and global. The vast majority of organizations and initiatives that were arising to address social and environmental challenges were doing so with a community-scale focus. The result was that most work was being done in local contexts. Yet when viewed with the perspective that Blessed Unrest offers, you can’t help but see how a leaderless global movement has formed, with many commonalities shared across geographies and issue types. The movement has become a compelling mosaic.

This observation is what echoed in my mind when I was recently reflecting on the challenge of climate change (something I do a lot these days). The connective tissue between the global and the local is of critical importance to this particular challenge. We see it in the problem itself – excessive greenhouse gases are being emitted in individual places all around the globe, and the result is a distortion in the climate that we all share. Flipping that coin over, the solution lies at the same intersection between the micro and macro. Climate solutions only scale where they are, but if they scale far enough, fast enough, and widely enough, our planet’s climate will stabilize. Few issues represent what Blessed Unrest described as well as this one.

That’s the context in which I’m excited to announce a new initiative being led in-part by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. It may not be news to those of you I know personally, and you would have heard about it Monday if you subscribe to our newsletter, but I haven’t actually written about it before. And so, I’m quite pleased to introduce you to Drawdown Georgia.

Inspired by Project Drawdown’s efforts to research and advocate for global climate solutions (another Paul Hawken echo, as he founded Project Drawdown), we wanted to create a similar effort but at the scale of Georgia. Our foundational question is simple – what climate solutions have the greatest potential to reverse global warming right here in our state? That question is being answered by a team of researchers from some of Georgia’s most esteemed universities, and their complete findings will be released in mid-October, (when we formally “launch” Drawdown Georgia).

The research is just a starting point though. I believe that Drawdown Georgia will become the lens through which climate action happens in our state, portraying a mosaic of climate champions from tree farmers to business executives to equity advocates. Georgia can become carbon neutral, but it will take all of us working to scale solutions far enough, fast enough, and wide enough. In doing so, we can advance equity, capitalize on inclusive economic development opportunities, heal our local environments, and improve human health.

I’d love nothing more than for you all, no matter where you live, to join us. While lots more is yet to come, you can start here. Climate change is a global problem that will only be solved with local leadership. Here in Georgia, we are ready to lead!