Touring Australia to promote his project and book Drawdown, Paul Hawken told audiences in Brisbane on Thursday and Byron Bay on Friday that overwhelmingly, women are the solution to climate change.
Hawken edited the 100 solutions presented in the book. Each solution selected for publication was modelled by the team of scientists that form the organisation Drawdown. Two of the top ten solutions specifically deal with the role of women. Solution #6 is the education of girls and solution #7 is family planning. Hawken described these solutions as pathways to the same outcome, which is empowerment of women, leading to a reduction in population growth which is one of two major factors driving environmental damage. Per capita consumption multiplied by the world population is the sum of total resource consumption on the planet. As well as impacting population levels, the empowerment of women leads directly to preferential investment in less aggressive and wasteful approaches to production and commerce, Hawken said.
A separate solution is to supporting women running small scale farms. That has a significant effect on the production of carbon. “Women running small farms produce more food than corporate agriculture,” Hawken told enthusiastic audiences, “that means that we do not have to accept the lie that we need big agriculture to feed the billions of people living in mega cities.”
He challenged the notion that corporate agriculture is feeding society. “Think about what they produce,” he said, “Corn, soy, sugar, highly refined grains and foodstuffs that cause obesity, diabetes, heart attacks. They are not feeding society, they are funding big pharma.”
He also pointed out that the military is one of the biggest contributors to environmental and societal harm, destroying landscapes, agriculture and societies on an enormous scale. He said that while he suspects world peace is probably the number one solution to reducing climate chaos, it has been left out of the book because there is no data available to model the impact of reversing it.
While the tour is largely complete, there are plenty of opportunities online to see Hawkens expounding the value of the book.