On Saturday, April 22, environmentalist and author Paul Hawken received the Environmental Hero Award from Santa Barbara's Community Environmental Council (CEC) at the Earth Day Festival. Each year the CEC honors someone who puts forth "efforts to educate, inspire and grow a new generation of environmental advocates and socially responsible citizens." The 2017 award was presented by Academy Award winner, Jeff Bridges, and Dr. Anthony Beebe, Santa Barbara City College President.
Paul Hawken was honored for his innovative global warming business and environmental solutions. After marching for science, thousands of people at the festival looked forward to hearing Paul Hawken speak, and celebrated his efforts in not only supporting peer reviewed science, but working toward lessening carbon emissions and global warming. Upon receiving the recognition, Paul Hawken encouraged people to read his book Drawdown, in hopes of providing a sense of urgency in working with the global warming crisis. People at the Earth Day celebration were filled with hope and joy, standing in solidarity with those around them as they celebrated our planet and the science advancements Paul Hawken explains to take care of the Earth.
At 8pm that evening, Paul Hawken gave an inspirational and informative talk at UCSB’s Campbell Hall, based on his manifesto, Drawdown focused on the global warming crisis. Many members of the Thematic Learning Initiative pre-reserved their free copy of the book before attending the event, and others were excited to join Arts & Lectures Thematic Learning Circles and receive a free book. Drawdown is the cumulative effort of about 70 research fellows, and 120 advisors over approximately 3 years to put forth what Paul Hawken explains is the only comprehensive plan to reduce carbon emissions and reverse global warming.
Paul Hawken began his talk by explaining how he approached creating the book. He told the audience members that at one point, after hearing people talk so much about global warming, he decided to act. He felt underwhelmed by Princeton University’s solutions and suggestions scientific agencies were giving individuals to help reverse climate change. As an example, he explained that suggesting people "move closer to work" was not enough to reverse what he described as the greatest crisis in human history: global warming. Hawken put out a call for people to work on the project with him. He was overwhelmed by the response of what he described to be extraordinary people sending in their resumes to be included on the project.
Paul Hawken then continued his talk by reviewing some of the solutions in his book, noting that "there are no blue bins in this book," meaning this book encourages people to do more than recycle. He explains that the imagery and wording in the book is chosen carefully to break clichés and make people feel like they are part of the solutions. Several of the solutions that Paul Hawken and his team found surprising and compelling are:
If this talk left you feeling inspired to take action, you can click here to sign up to march for climate change on Saturday, April 29th right here in Santa Barbara.
On May 20th at the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara City library, there was a small learning circle to follow up Paul Hawken's time in Santa Barbara. At this event, two expert speakers from the Community Environmental Council spoke about three main themes in Drawdown; food, energy and transportation. Speakers informed the audience about initiatives locally that coincided with the suggestions offered by Hawken's book. Audience members then had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the topic with one another. Many attendees shared personal stories of what they are doing in their own lives with respect to these themes to help draw down in Santa Barbara.