On this page, you’ll find accelerators — actins that will make Drawdown solutions spread more widely and scale up more quickly. They include:
- Communicating about climate change
- Voting and helping others vote
- Divesting from fossil fuel companies
- Thinking twice about consumerism
- Carbon offsets and other kinds of investing
- Educating about climate change
- The arts and climate change
Communicating about climate change
The Yale Center for Climate Change Communication helps us to understand that not every climate skeptic is the same, describing Six Americas. Their research has also found that “exposing people to the ‘consensus message‘ that ‘97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening‘ is particularly effective in traditionally dismissive parts of the country.
97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening.– This simple message, repeated often, can be highly effective.
Using a stewardship message can help build bridges between climate activists and the faith community, such as the work of Asheville’s Creation Care Alliance. Climate scientist and evangelical Christian Katharine Hayhoe says the most important thing we can do about climate change is to talk about it. In this TED talk, she gives us some tips for how to talk to folks who are resistant to the science.
Voting is not optional
Are you registered to vote, and do you know where to vote? (If not, contact us for assistance, no shame, we’ll help you out!) Find out what candidates (no matter what party) intend to do to protect our precious waters and lands, and reverse the climate crisis. It’s important to vote with every election and learn about candidates “down-ballot” because local politics can have an even bigger impact on the environment than national ones. Help others register, and vote, as well. Get involved with a local voter registration drive, or start one. Need help registering or voting? Want guidance with how to conduct a voter registration drive, or how to focus energies to support a climate-positive candidate? Get in touch, we have lots of resources to help you. Here is information about voting in our states:
Once we’re done voting, we’re still not done. Our legislators need us to keep them on the right track.
Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) empowers citizens to lobby for a bill called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. CCL believes this is a highly effective bill because it would create jobs and has already gathered tremendous bipartisan support. If this bill is passed, the revenue collected from carbon pricing would be returned directly to the pockets of US citizens, not to the government.
Organizations like Sierra Club WENOCA, Sunrise Movement Asheville, and Extinction Rebellion WNC guide our lawmakers so that they will represent the interests of our communities and work for a safe climate future. Community Roots is working for paradigm-shifting local level legislation in Asheville. In Henderson County, you can work with Citizen Concerned with the Climate Crisis (C4), and in Haywood County, you can work with WNC Climate Action Coalition. In South Carolina, Upstate Forever is leading the way on legislation for renewable energy and other environmental issues.
The Sierra Club can use your help handing out endorsement cards to voters at early voting from February 13 to the 29th, and on Tuesday, March 3 for election day (primary). These endorsements inform voters about the environmental records of down-ballot candidates. Here are the Sierra Club Endorsements for Buncombe County and for NC outside of Buncombe County.
Divesting from fossil fuels
Divestment is the opposite of investment. It’s pulling capital out instead of putting it in. Our culture is heavily invested in fossil fuel companies, in many ways: through investments made by colleges and universities, through investments made by our banks and other companies, and (for those lucky enough to have the capital) in our personal investments. Divestment works! Apartheid in South Africa ended largely because of a divestment movement. We can pressure fossil fuel companies to invest their attention to renewable energy by divesting. Learn more about fossil fuel divestment here.
Carbon offsets & investments
Carbon offsets are specific kinds of investments in climate solutions. Often used to offset the carbon “spent” on air travel, you can calculate how much carbon you are “spending” and “purchase” an equivalent amount of carbon sequestration, through tree planting and other projects. Read more about how to choose a reliable carbon offset provider here, and here. Offset your carbon use locally with Appalachian Offsets. If you’re planting trees as carbon offsets, make sure carbon offset provider understands how to plant trees in a way that is restorative, not making environmental problems worse. Watch this video for more information:
Don’t buy it
Before you buy something new, ask yourself: Do you need it? Can you make what you need from the things you have? Can you fix something you already have? Can you buy it used, such as at a ReStore, at the Upcycle in Mitchell County, or at a thrift store? Fast fashion is carbon-intensive and it exploits workers. Find great threads at a vintage store like Ragtime or Reciprocity. And if you do decide to buy it new, ask: Where did it come from? Who mined it/ farmed it/ produced it? Were they paid fairly, and treated fairly, and how do you know? Are there other ways to get it that are more sustainable, and that provide fair compensation? Here are some things to consider about ourselves as consumers, and whether being a “conscious consumer” is really legit.
Educating about climate change
Drawdown Learn and the Drawdown Learn Twitter feed provide a wealth of resources for teaching about climate solutions. Through Drawdown Learn, you can connect with other educators teaching Drawdown, both in K-12 classrooms and in higher education. In the coming year, several partners of Drawdown WNC will be working to share Drawdown Learn resources with K-12 and higher education institutions in our region. Contact us if you’re interested in helping out with that effort.
Asheville High School teacher Sarah Duffer uses Drawdown to help students envision a future worth working for. Read about her work in this Yale Climate Connections article. In Drawdown Learn, Project Drawdown provides resources to help teachers and students create academic projects around climate solutions.
We need to keep learning about climate science, too. In Asheville, educate yourself by attending events at The Collider. Often these events feature scientists from NOAA. Asheville is fortunate to house the headquarters for the nation’s climate data at the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). While NCEI is closed to the public, climate scientists from NCEI often give reports at Collider events. Living Web Farms in Mills River, NC has hands-on workshops and multimedia teaching about all kinds of sustainable living practices.
The arts and climate change
Artists are poised to communicate climate change in ways that may reach folks more effectively. Stacking higher piles of data isn’t working. This is an emotional subject that threatens the very core of who we think we are, and communicating about it requires nuance and compassion. The arts can speak the language of the heart, communicating visually, emotionally, musically, even spiritually, in ways that scientific arguments may miss. For example, in Ice Watch, Olafur Eliasson imported mammoth chunks of glacial ice from the waters around Greenland and left them to melt in public places during the 2014 Paris Climate Conference.
Artist Mel Chin, who lives in Yancey County, produced Unmoored, an app that showed the undersides of boat hulls hovering eerily overhead, giving the viewer the sense of being underwater on New York City streets. Read more about that project in this New York Times review. Tali Weinberg, former instructor and winter resident at Penland School of Craft, produces Climate Datascapes with fiber and mixed media. Penland former student and winter resident Kim Mirus creates images of glaciers with weaving, capturing a sense of loss in her dark woven panels. In the Toe River Arts region, AS IF Center produces works with colleges, universities, and other organizations to make art-science for the Anthropocene. In Upstate South Carolina, The Rensing Center promotes creativity at the intersection with environmental stewardship. The Rensing Center is also a serving as a hub for Drawdown Upstate SC.
Let’s work together.