I have a few regrets in life. One is not eating a cronut in Vegas when I had the chance (I’ve yet to come across the elusive cronut in Northeast Ohio). But I can really only think of one major one (and it’s awesomely nerdy): I regret that I missed being present at the 2014 People’s Climate March. I should have done the completely un-nerdy thing and skipped classes to be a part of this historic occurrence. I even blogged about it here at the time. We’re at a critical point in history with climate change. We have an opportunity to give up, or fight back. Either way, we determine the climate outcome(s) for future generations.
Reading much of the climate news is depressing, particularly when we know the science and we know there are measures we can take to mitigate, but for various social reasons, things simply don’t get done in an effectual manner. I actually give climate scientists, particularly those that work in the realm of science and policy (Michael Mann of the infamous Hockey Stick comes to mind) huge props for keeping their motivation going. My motivation to continue making a positive difference with climate change was waning – until I found the UA Biomimicry program. The central reason I like biomimicry so much is that we can find innovative solutions to pressing problems, by learning from and working with nature – not just capitalizing from nature. It gives hope and optimism for the future.
This summer, for my own research endeavors, I’m exploring more in depth about urban resilience and climate change adaptation and mitigation techniques, particularly looking at the urban heat island effect and associated biomimetic solutions. At the same time as organizing my research, I came across Project Drawdown – a huge collaborative undertaking of environmentalist/entrepreneur/author/many other hats Paul Hawken and his main co-author Amanda Ravenhill. Project Drawdown takes a pragmatic, deliberate, measured, systemic approach to climate solutions to “drawdown” atmospheric greenhouse gases. The enterprise calls on a coalition of individuals to contribute to making a positive impact by deploying the technologies that we already have, but figuring out how to do it on the global scale. Some of the solutions include rotational grazing, smart glass, and (a favorite of mine) educating girls. Each solution will also have a critical policy implementation component, as well.
Just as I’m incredibly pleased to be a part of the University of Akron’s Biomimicry program, I’m delighted to have another “academic family” in Project Drawdown, giving me an opportunity to be surrounded by and learn from even more incredible, optimistic, and talented people. A few weeks ago, I was recently accepted as Drawdown Fellow, working on Green and White Roof solutions. In the summer Drawdown Fellows cohort orientation last week, Paul gave a motivating speech conveying the importance and urgency of our generation to do something about climate change. There was one idiom emphasized that I continue to live by: No Regrets. We have an astounding opportunity to help mitigate climate change before we hit the climate tipping point(s). Working with the people at UA and Project Drawdown certainly gives me hope and keeps me motivated to work my ass off for finding meaningful biomimetic solutions to climate change and drawing down our greenhouse gases for a better, healthier environment for my kid and the rest of those that will inherit the Earth after us. And if in the process of leading the no-regrets-with-climate-change lifestyle, I happen to check “getting arrested in an act of civil disobedience protesting fossil fuels,” off the bucket list, then I know I truly won’t have any regrets. But please send bail money and cronuts.