10 Most Viable Global Climate Solutions

 
dikaseva-8o4W9LZv6eo-unsplash.jpg

Project DrawDown’s 10 Most viable Global Climate Solutions

Project Drawdown is a world-class research organization that reviews, analyzes and identifies the most viable global climate solutions, and shares these findings with the world. They partner with communities, policymakers, nonprofits, businesses, investors and philanthropists to identify and deploy science-based, effective climate solutions—as quickly, safely and equitably as possible.

As a thought leader and communicator, Project Drawdown is shifting the global conversation about climate change from “doom and gloom” defeatism to one of possibility, opportunity, action and empowerment.

Read on to learn about Project Drawdown’s 10 Most Viable Global Climate Solutions and featured nonprofits in our network who work on those solutions. You can also check out our Q&A with Project Drawdown’s Executive Director, Jonathan Foley, here


markus-spiske-wL7pwimB78Q-unsplash.jpg

1. Refrigerant Management

Featured nonprofit: Product Stewardship Institute 

Where? Global

Focus: For the past 20 years, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) has worked to reduce the health and environmental impacts of consumer products by developing policies and programs that require manufacturers to take primary responsibility for the design of safe products and their post-consumer return to the circular economy. PSI is a convener, reaching across boundaries between the public and private sectors to solve intractable recycling and waste management issues.

On why their work is important:

“With much of climate change advocacy focused on energy, most people don’t realize that the production of consumer products accounts for about 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions—more than any other sector, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From mining virgin resources to production and assembly, the combined direct and indirect emissions are staggering. 

The materials our products are made from matter, too. From our carpets to our clothes, many of the consumer goods we use every day are made of plastic from carbon rich oil or fracked natural gas. And let’s not forget the packaging in which they are sold and shipped. What’s more is that these millions of tons of steel, aluminum, glass, wood pallets, paper, paperboard and plastic are being tossed. We need to reduce the amount of materials we use and recover and recycle the rest.

Unfortunately, our country’s recycling system places an unreasonable burden on municipalities to manage materials they have no control over creating in the first place. And taxpayers are left paying the bill, while low-income communities bear the health and environmental burden of hosting landfills and incinerators. There are few options to safely manage most consumer products and curbside recycling system for packaging is highly fragmented, lacks adequate infrastructure investment and often fails to reach economies of scale that make recycling as profitable as it should be.

PSI develops programs and legislation for the collection and recycling of valuable materials. Our solutions hold corporations accountable for sustainably financing and running recycling systems for their products that are safe and convenient for consumers. We have gotten real results: for example, EPR programs in Connecticut for electronics, mercury thermostats, paint and mattresses have reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 13 million kg of carbon equivalent. Our organization has played a significant role in passing 117 laws in 33 states on more than 14 product categories, including carpet, mattresses, paint, electronics, batteries and mercury thermostats. By recovering materials from these products, energy is saved and GHG emissions are reduced. 

Only when the companies that make these products (and profit from them) pay the true cost of climate pollution will we achieve a circular, low-carbon economy.”


jason-blackeye-9HEY1URQIQY-unsplash.jpg

2. Wind Turbines (Onshore)

Featured nonprofit: Windustry

Where? U.S. 

Focus: Windustry’s mission is to promote sustainable energy solutions and empower communities to develop and own clean energy assets. As an independent voice and resource acting in support of communities, they work—through education, outreach and advocacy—to advance broad community commitment to renewable energy.

On why their work is important:

“The sector of the economy responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions is the power sector and the source that produces the largest share of our electricity and the bulk of greenhouse gases is coal. Community renewables are the most rapidly deployable form of green energy because they require minimal upgrades to the transmission grid. Community renewables also provide the most economic benefit to their communities, since more of the dollars saved and made stay in the local community.”


Photo Credit: OzHarvest

Photo Credit: OzHarvest

3. Reduced Food Waste

Featured nonprofit: OzHarvest

Where? Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and South Africa 

Focus: OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organization with a driving purpose to Nourish Our Country. Founded by Ronni Kahn in 2004, it began with a simple concept to rescue good food that would otherwise go to waste and deliver it to people in need. Each week, OzHarvest rescues over 180 tonnes of quality surplus food from a network of food donors and delivers directly and free of charge to more than 1,300 charitable agencies.

On why their work is important:

“Food waste is a huge problem. In Australia alone, the annual food waste bill comes in at around $20 billion, with over 7 million tonnes of food being thrown away every year. Not only is this a huge waste of food, resources and money, it also has a negative impact on the environment. Food left to rot in landfill releases powerful greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), if food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the U.S. and China!

 Australia has a national target to halve food waste by 2030 (in line with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals), so change is required at all levels of society and it starts with changing our behavior at home.

 As a for-impact organization, OzHarvest is focused on doing whatever it takes to ‘Nourish our Country’ and fight food waste at the same time. The clock is ticking, and with only 11 years to go, it is time to stop talking about it and time to take action!”


caroline-attwood-5PDlOQOKOpA-unsplash.jpg

4. Plant Rich Diet

Featured nonprofit: The Reducetarian Foundation

Where? Asia Pacific

Focus: The Reducetarian Foundation aims to improve human health, protect the environment and spare farm animals from cruelty by reducing societal consumption of animal products.

On why their work is important:

Check out the Reducitarian’s “Why we do it” page to learn about some reasons why you might want to join the millions of others who are a part of the growing reducetarian movement.


Photo Credit: Rainforest Trust

Photo Credit: Rainforest Trust

 5. Tropical Forests 

Featured nonprofit: Rainforest Trust

Where? Central and South America, Asia and Africa

Focus: Rainforest Trust purchases and protects the most threatened tropical forests, saving endangered wildlife through partnerships and community engagement. Every action we take now to protect rainforests will have a lasting impact on the future by maintaining our planet’s critical ecosystems.

On why their work is important:

“Tropical rainforests affect the daily lives of every person on the planet. Rainforests are one of the most important natural resources left on Earth. Trees and other plants, like all living things, are made of carbon and can safely store billions of tons of carbon, helping ward off climate change. But when forests are cleared or burned, much of that carbon ends up in the atmosphere—similar to burning fossil fuels. This carbon changes the planet’s climate and contributes to rising temperatures, stronger storms, more severe droughts and rising sea levels. Rainforest Trust has been committed to deforestation and protecting endangered species for just over 30 years, and in that time, has safeguarded more than 22 million acres.”


Photo Credit: Women’s Earth Alliance

Photo Credit: Women’s Earth Alliance

6. Educating Girls

Featured nonprofit: Women’s Earth Alliance 

Where? Global

Focus: Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) believes that when women thrive, the Earth thrives. For 13 years, they have equipped grassroots women leaders with the skills and tools they need to protect our earth and strengthen communities from the inside out. In some of the most environmentally threatened regions, WEA leaders are saving indigenous seeds, selling clean cookstoves, launching sustainable farms, providing safe water, protecting land rights, and more. With local leadership guiding each project, WEA designs capacity-building trainings where women access skills and tools in appropriate technology, entrepreneurship and leadership. Most importantly, WEA forms and supports the longevity of alliances between grassroots women leaders that enable women to amplify their impact through collaboration and the sharing of skills and knowledge.  

On why their work is important:

“Empowering women and girls is one of the greatest leverage points for successfully addressing climate change and humanity’s resilience. Educated girls become educated women, and when women’s knowledge is centered and they can access needed resources, networks, and visibility, everyone benefits: local economies prosper, democracy strengthens, health improves and ecosystems vital to our survival regenerate. The greater the number and the longer the duration of time girls and women are given access to education, literacy rates rise and unplanned pregnancies decline, lowering dangerous emissions. Women also learn resilience and can connect with a supportive network in the face of ecological disasters. Through education, women learn how to protect their livelihoods, their land and their bodies.”


Photo Credit: Kula Project

Photo Credit: Kula Project

7. Family Planning

Featured nonprofit: Kula

Where? Rwanda

Focus: Kula is eradicating poverty through the development of female entrepreneurs in Rwanda. Our mission is to develop the entrepreneurial capacity of women in Rwanda, based on the belief that ongoing aid will not be able to sustainably reduce poverty on its own, but the strengthening of rural, female-owned businesses, livelihoods and healthy environments will.

On why their work is important:

“When women have full control and full knowledge of their bodies, they wait longer to get married, have fewer children and invest more in their own education and economic opportunities. In the Kula Fellowship, women learn different contraception methods, how to monitor ovulation cycles, the true costs of raising children and how to avoid men that attempt to pull them away from their dreams. They learn proper female health and hygiene practices and gain access to environmentally friendly products like menstrual cups. We believe educating women on family planning and reproductive health is essential to ensuring the wellbeing and independence of women, while also protecting the betterment of the planet.”


Photo Credit: Solar United Neighbors of their 2018 DC Solar Congress event

Photo Credit: Solar United Neighbors of their 2018 DC Solar Congress event

8. Solar Farms 

Featured nonprofit: Solar United Neighbors

Where? U.S.

Focus: Solar United Neighbors is a community of people building a new energy system with rooftop solar at the cornerstone. We help people go solar, join together and fight for their energy rights.

On why their work is important:

“Community solar offers the benefit of solar to those who can’t, or prefer not to, install solar panels on their homes. These projects enable individuals, businesses and organizations to purchase or lease a ‘share’ in a community solar project. If you join a community solar project, you receive a credit on your electric bill each month for the energy produced by your share. Before you can receive this credit, though, your utility must agree to participate in community solar or be forced to allow it by legislation. 

Community solar programs are expanding around the country. We’re building a listing of community solar projects to help people and businesses compare the options available to them. Right now, we’re tracking opportunities for residents in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Minnesota, but our list will be growing soon! We make it easy for people to find community solar in these areas here.

Not all community solar projects are the same. We believe that communities, individuals, towns, churches and neighbors should have the right to develop their own community solar projects. As solar supporters, we look for several things in community solar programs and legislation: whether it’s a good economic deal for participants, whether it’s customer friendly and whether it benefits the community.”


Photo credit: Plant With Purpose

Photo credit: Plant With Purpose

9. Silvopasture

Featured nonprofit: Plant With Purpose

Where? Rural villages affected by deforestation around Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia

Focus: Plant With Purpose reverses deforestation and poverty in the world by transforming the lives of the rural poor. They empower the rural poor to change their communities through environmental restoration, economic development and spiritual growth.

On why their work is important:

“Silvopasture is a practice and process that integrates raising livestock with the activity of trees and planting crops. It’s based on a rich understanding of how animal processes and agricultural processes work, and how they can go hand-in-hand.

The main idea behind silvopasture is that raising livestock, planting trees and growing food are no longer totally separate activities, but all part of the same system. Animals produce waste materials that can actually be beneficial for plant growth. Animals also emit harmful amounts of methane that grasslands help absorb.

Livestock, forest materials and food crops can all generate an income at different cycles. Crops go through seasons of planting and harvest. Animals must be reared to maturity when they can reproduce, lay eggs or give milk. Part of silvopasture involves getting these cycles to complement each other.” 

Check out their full-length blog post on this topic: What is silvopasture and why does it matter?


Photo Credit: Cedar Wright Media & the Honnold Foundation

Photo Credit: Cedar Wright Media & the Honnold Foundation

10. Rooftop Solar

Featured nonprofit: The Honnold Foundation

Where? Global 

Focus: The Honnold Foundation supports solar energy access for a more equitable world, and envisions a future where all people have equal access to opportunity and live in balance with the environment. They believe in solar as a proven, environmentally sound solution to global energy poverty and award grants to bold and ethical organizations driving innovation in the solar industry.

On why their work is important:

Click here to learn about the importance of solar energy directly from the Honnold Foundation’s partners.

 
Jaclyn McCarthy