Why I’m Hopeful the Natural Products Industry Can Reverse Climate Change
What if the fossil fuel emissions from cities, nations and industry peak in 2020 and fall to zero by 2050?
What if responsible business leaders banded together to commit work collaboratively on not just minimizing global warming, but also reversing it?
Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Yesterday, the Trump administration signed and set in motion an executive order to reverse and rewrite the Clean Power Plan and renege on the Paris Agreement. Despite today’s rollbacks being excruciatingly disappointing and galactically frustrating, I’m actually hopeful.
Hope is not an emotion I expected to feel about climate change at any point in the near future. And yet hope is exactly what I felt after attending the inaugural Climate Day hosted by New Hope Network and the newly formed Climate Collaborative at Expo West in early March.
Laura Dickinson, one of the founders of the Climate Collaborative, eloquently proposed a solution for brands and companies in the natural products industry to join together to work on the big opportunities and make a big difference. In a recent blog post she stated that “[a]lthough climate change is one of the biggest threats humankind has ever faced, it’s also one of the greatest opportunities we’ve ever had to innovate and make change. By joining forces, we can unleash a new wave of innovation that will help slow and ultimately reverse climate change while improving our quality of life and making our businesses stronger.”
The Climate Collaborative seeks for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, brokers, suppliers and other concerned businesses in the natural products industry to join together and work collaboratively in taking bold action to reverse climate change. Participating businesses commit to take action on one or more of nine innovative and practical climate solutions. Companies that have already committed to the Climate Collaborative include our client Organic Valley, as well as B Corp friends Dr. Bronner’s, Lotus Foods, Numi Tea, Plum Organics, and Happy Family—plus, yours truly, Grady Britton.
In his Climate Day keynote, Paul Hawken, executive director of Project Drawdown, explained that “no industry has a bigger impact on climate change than agriculture and food, both as a source of the problem and as a solution.”
Hawken’s hope-filled keynote focused on the research and conclusions of Project Drawdown maps, measures, and models, and described the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. His amazing findings provided a glimpse into which solutions have the greatest carbon impact and ability to improve lives, create jobs, restore the environment, enhance security, generate resilience, and advance human health.
This list of the solutions, to be released in April, presents an extensive array of impactful measures that, as I write this, organizations are already undertaking. Out of 100 total solutions evaluated, the top ten included regenerative agriculture, reducing food waste, family planning and educating girls and women. All very doable today. Yesterday, in fact.
As climate change activists, it’s important to remember our role in imagining and shaping the future we want to achieve. Joel Makower, the moderator for Climate Day, recently wrote in an article for Greenbiz that it’s easy “in today’s divisive and toxic political environment, to view Project Drawdown as too good to be true, a quixotic quest for an unattainable goal.But there’s something simple and sane about Project Drawdown’s collective ingredients: unabashed optimism tempered by sharp-pencil calculations, a bold goal undergirded by scientific pragmatism, immediacy coupled with a 30-year horizon, all leveraging the wisdom of a very smart crowd.”
I agree. I can’t wait to be a part of the natural products industry’s momentous effort to leverage its power and passion for the greater good. If government isn’t going to do the right thing, businesses can. And this makes me hopeful.
Note: On April 20th, Ecotrust will welcome Paul Hawken for a conversation about Drawdown and book signing during Earth Week. If you can make it, don’t miss it.