PA – Hawken and Enos, How To Change The World

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December 6, 2019 by Dr. G


A colleague on campus forwarded me an announcement that the founder of Project Drawdown, Paul Hawken, was going to be speaking at Swarthmore College. As I mentored one of the Drawdown REU Scholars at Penn State this past summer and are having my students generate podcasts this semester on Drawdown solutions, I knew I didn’t want to miss this event! I asked my Drawdown Scholar Anna if she wanted to join me, and we headed to Swarthmore to hear not only Paul Hawken but other speakers that were an unexpected but welcomed addition to the event.

The event started with a blessing from a member of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania (also see this NPR story on Lenape Indians, The Original Philadelphians, to learn more). It was incredibly moving to be a part of such an experience and recognition of the lands we had gathered. We then heard from Swarthmore College’s Director of Sustainability – who mentioned that they may be changing the name of their sustainability center to a regeneration center (a topic I’d like to dive into more for the reasoning behind the wording change). And it was fascintating to hear that Swarthmore College has a climate crisis strategy and is aiming to be a zero-waste campus!

I have some bullet points I noted during Hawken’s talk:

  • It’s not science, but extraordinatory science behind climate understanding
  • The language when it comes to climate is inept – Drawdown puts the language in the context of possiblity
  • Keep in mind that we had to name the goal first, and that goal is “drawdown” – then, indentify the solutions
  • When people say “game over”, it is a surrender (and an emotional surrender)
  • It’s not just about climate, it’s about people
  • If our young people are any indication of the future, we are in good shape
  • What does the term sustainability even mean? Regeneration is a process, meaning it is going on right now

 

He also recommended an article by Bill McKibben titled Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, which appeared in Rolling Stone magazine in July 2012.

The second speaker was Kamuela Enos, Director of Social Innovation at MA’O Organic Farms. He started with the following video:

Overall, we heard from Enos about ancestral systems as contemporary solutions. We learned about moving out of poverty into responsiblity – and so much more.

What did we learn from the Q&A at the end?

  • Climate change is not a science problem, but a human problem. It is its identity, that we think it is separate from everything and everyone.
  • Regeneration has to start with our minds and our hearts – not the soil, and it is not a top-down solution
  • Communities need to be consulted to come up with solutions to solve government problems
  • We can’t have sustainability without equity. Moving forward, everything should be done through the lens of equity. In this region, it means always starting with the Lenape (they have the system), and regeneration has to have this equity.

 

I’m so lucky to be able to have heard these words – so much to think about and reflect upon as I continue with my own work and instruction, helping other students reach their own drawdown solutions.

 

 

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But I have to share one more post from the #OSM20 fieldtrip to @birchaquarium and @scripps_ocean. And I don't know why this didn't click with me before I went on the trip, but Scripps Institution of Oceanography was the home of Charles Keeling (you know... the "Keeling Curve" guy). He was mentioned briefly during our time on campus, but I wanted more! So I ran over to his building to snap some photos, including photos in front of the historic markers. After visiting the Mauna Loa Laboratory back in 2014 (throwback photo included), it was great to come complete circle on the journey of CO2 measurements! #historicmarker #ACSmarker #Keeling
The last stop on the #OSM20 @scripps_ocean tour was the marine vertebrate collection. This collection focuses on fish-only, as the whale bones were given to NOAA once the Marine Mammal Protection Act went into effect. The collection was founded in 1944 and focuses mostly on eastern Pacific marine fish. We learned many cool, random fish facts! For example, this collection has over 2 million individual fish specimens that represents more than 6,000 fish species. Yet there have been 35,000 fish species identified in the world, with 500 new fish species identified each year. We saw the deepest fish ever caught - a type of snail fish from the Mariana Trench (~7,966 m deep). We also saw lots of fish in jars - a whale shark, goblin shark, viper fish, angler fish, and blob fish!
Next stop at #OSM20 @scripps_ocean was the Hubbs Research Aquarium - which is true to its name, as it clearly resembles a research laboratory! So many cool experiments are being done here by Scripps faculty. The work on the white sea bass was interesting, looking at the otoliths (inner ear bone) and what impact changing ocean pH will have on them for equilibrium and their growth? As this fish is used alot in the aquaculture industry, this work has great releavance. The sea urchin work on the white, purple (no photo), and red varieties was also fascinating. For example, how do human chemicals that wash into the ocean impact the growth and defense mechanisms of these sea creatures? In some cases, the reaction can be seen under a microscope. And the albino shark was just really cool to see...
Being a part of the #OSM20 fieldtrip allowed us special access to the @scripps_ocean Scripps Pier. This 1,000 foot-long pier increases six feet in height as you walk out from the shore, so water can filtered and be pumped back to the laboratories in the black seawater flume that runs along its length. The pier is designed to lower their smaller research vessels and divers, but it also takes important water measurements (looking down the opening where literally a bucket is lowered to collect a sample) and air measurements through weather stations and the pink pole at the end of the pier. These temperature measurements are critical for climate change mapping. What a view of sandstone faces, surfers, and oh yes - we saw dolphins, too!
Next stop on the #OSM20 fieldtrip was to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. We had a box lunch (with a box of water!) and a fascinating summary of the history of Scripps presented by Kirk Gardner. We heard about Revelle, Keeling, and more! @scripps_ocean
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