Every year, as the Earth cycles through its four seasons, a natural carbon cycle is also occurring. During the colder months that cause dormant plant life, carbon in the upper atmosphere grows. As the temperature begins to warm and vegetation can grow again, plants are able reduce the amount of carbon through the photosynthesis process. Images captured by NASA show the continuous cycling between the two.
The celebrated environmentalist Paul Hawken and his team have looked at this cycle and see potential; they want to optimize it with a plan called Project Drawdown. With Drawdown, they believe they have found a way that will not just stabilize or slow down the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; it will actually reduce it.
What is Drawdown?
According to the project’s website, “Drawdown is that point in time when greenhouse gases peak and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis.” On June 10th, keynote speaker Paul Hawken spoke to local companies and individuals at the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit about his plan to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a list of solutions that will decarbonize the atmosphere using Drawdown. What makes the proposed plan so unique is that every single statistic and resulting model is meticulously checked and double checked by a growing team of professionals and researchers. The Project Drawdown team is adamant about producing figures that are accurate and can be proven again and again.
At first glance, some of the solutions seem unconventional. How can educating girls or instilling better family planning have an effect on climate change? Well, it has to do with population control. The unconventionality of some of the solutions they propose is purposely done. The project is forcing people to look at alternatives that can be effective right now and are actually reasonable to accomplish. They are not relying on some far-off and unproven futuristic technology or on solutions that can only be attainable with funds and aid from massive corporations. Project Drawdown is adding to the list in a way that the everyman, in any city and any country, can actually do something to bring about change.
What Businesses Can Do
Sustainability, in general, has become more economically feasible in recent years. Companies that actively strive to use less water and energy and produce less waste have been shown to have higher returns on investment. Finding these sustainable solutions causes companies to be more innovative and forward thinking in the process. Further, companies that are implementing sustainable strategies are becoming more desirable in the eyes of investors. According to US News, “the Morgan Stanley study shows 71 percent of individual investors are interested in sustainable investing.” This will only be an increasing trend as the younger generation, a group that greatly supports green initiatives, grows older and is able to invest more and more.
So how can businesses use the results of the Drawdown project to become greener and mitigate their effects on the environment? Fortunately, there are numerous solutions they can adopt that will have more than just ecological benefits but also profit the bottom line . One of the missions of Drawdown is to find solutions that are both viable and beneficial to the community, regardless of environment. All of the proposed changes have positive returns in the long run, but they are also just good community practices that should be in place for the betterment of humanity because they improve the overall quality of life. The team behind this project calls them “no regret” solutions.
Of the numerous examples given, some of the easy ones for businesses to implement are:
- Instilling video conferencing to avoid traveling
- LED lighting
- Commercial recycling
To go even a step further, businesses could:
- Build more sustainably, e.g. living buildings, green roofs, building with wood
- Retro-commissioning- a methodical process for identifying less-than-optimal performance in your facility’s equipment, lighting and control systems and making the necessary adjustments. Unlike retrofitting which involves replacing equipment, retro-commissioning involves optimizing equipment that is already in place.
- Using energy alternatives, such as geothermal or solar
To see the full list of possible solutions, click here.
To be effective, sustainability needs to become mainstream, and no company does that better than Trayak. Using Trayak’s comprehensive line of software solutions, businesses are able to incorporate greener measures easily and effectively. Sustainability will no longer be just a goal but will become a measurable reality. The small changes we make now can have big effects in the future.