Introduction to Project Drawdown and the Four Levels of Action

On this page, you will find the introductory materials for Project Drawdown, how to organize your four levels of action, and where to learn more information to aid you in your role to help reverse global warming.

Introduction to Project Drawdown Presentation. Can we do more than “address” the climate crisis? What if we could reverse it? What kind of world could we create? How do I get into action? All of these questions and more are explored through the incredible work of the Project Drawdown team.
(Last Update: June 2021)
Project Drawdown Overview in 12 minutes (downloadable video). This introductory video will give you the essential information for what Project Drawdown is all about. After you watch, you will better understand the history and how it measures, models and maps solutions which when embraced at scale can actually reverse the climate crisis.
The Four Levels of Action. (downloadable video here) Will Grant’s frames how to think about and build your action portfolio from individual action all the way to the systems and structures that govern society. This activism framework comes from the Pachamama Alliance’s “Up to Us” workshops and trainings which you can find here.
Climate Solutions 101: Presented by Project Drawdown. Your climate solutions journey begins now. Filled with the latest need-to-know science and fascinating insights from global leaders in climate policy, research, investment, and beyond, this video series is a brain-shift toward a brighter climate reality. You can download all the images for the Climate Solutions 101 training as a single presentation here. Transcripts and resources for each of the units are here: (Unit 1: Setting the Stage, Unit 2: Stopping Climate Change

2040 Movie Trailer. What would the future look like if we simply embraced the solutions that already exist today? 2040 envisions that future based on the work of Project Drawdown and Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics. Find out more about watching the movie on your favorite streaming service here.
In less than a minute, this rapid-fire animation tells you everything you need to know about how to get along on earth for the next million years. By Jason Ables. Download the video here.
Your Personal Action Guide for the Environment. Written by Dr. Jonathan Foley (executive director of Project Drawdown). Solving our biggest environmental problems will require huge changes in policy and business practice. But it turns out that our personal actions can help too, if we focus on the right things. Here are some places to start. Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash
The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it. How do you talk to someone who doesn’t believe in climate change? Not by rehashing the same data and facts we’ve been discussing for years, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. In this inspiring, pragmatic talk, Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion — and to prompt people to realize that they already care about a changing climate. “We can’t give in to despair,” she says. “We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act — and that hope begins with a conversation, today.”
The biggest obstacle to dealing with climate disruptions lies between your ears, says psychologist and economist Per Espen Stokes. He’s spent years studying the defenses we use to avoid thinking about the demise of our planet — and figuring out a new way of talking about global warming that keeps us from shutting down. Step away from the doomsday narratives and learn how to make caring for the earth feel personable, do-able and empowering with this fun, informative talk.
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Want to learn more? Read on…


Project Drawdown Resources:

The original 2017 book – Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have came together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change.  You can borrow the book at the library, buy the book at AmazonWalmartBarnes and Noble, and find out more on the Drawdown website.  You can find the original Frequently asked Questions (FAQ) document for this work herewhich provides a great overview for the original work. web site

The world’s leading resource on climate solutions.  This is where you will find the latest up to date information on solutions which are in-hand and if scaled up over the next few decades can reverse global warming due to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. There are lots of ways to discover solutions now.  For example, you can look at all solutions or discover them based on sectors or sort based on the two drawdown scenarios.

The Drawdown Review 2020: Climate Solutions for a New Decade

This is the digital (PDF file) update to the original book with updated information and modelling.  It is focused on solutions we have now where the book had a section called “Coming Attractions” which are promising solutions but not yet proven to be deployed at scale.  There is a new framework with solutions focused on Reducing Sources, Supporting Sinks, and Improving Society organized into the following sectors: Electricity, Food Agriculture & Land Use, Industry, Transportation, Buildings, Land Sinks, Ocean Sinks, Engineered Sinks, and Health & Education.  You can download this document on home page of the Drawdown web site or download directly from here.
Here are some other helpful documents which summarize solutions and key takeaways from the Drawdown Review:

Solutions with a brief description of each

Key insights from the 2020 update

Solutions by sector (taken from the complete review)

Drawdown solutions spreadsheet

This is a spreadsheet to make it easy for you to sort based on name or rank as well as filter based on sectors.  It includes links to each of the solutions (with brief descriptions) and sectors on the Drawdown website and is available as a Microsoft Excel file or Google sheet.  Note:  These spreadsheets are read-only so if you want to edit them on your local machine, simply save a copy.

Drawdown Programs & Partnerships 

Below are a list of great organizations that the Project Drawdown team has collaborated with in their solutions.

Drawdown Learn.  Drawdown Learn is a broad initiative to encourage education and learning about climate solutions based on Project Drawdown’s research, analysis, and insights.  Featured partners: Drawdown EcochallengeOmega InstituteNCSE Global (Drawdown USA)and Solutions Journalism Network

Partnerships.  Collaborations focused on specific initiatives that promote broad public education and engagement around the Drawdown framework.  Partners include Nurses DrawdownClimatebase (formerly Climate.Careers)Global Cooling Prize, and TED Countdown.

Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. The goal: To build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 in the race to a zero-carbon world – a world that is safer, cleaner and fairer for everyone. Every organization, company, city and nation and citizens everywhere are invited to collaborate with Countdown and take action on climate. It is a movement open to everyone – and everyone has a vital role to play.
Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash

Polling and Quizzes

CNN and Project Drawdown’s Climate Quiz. 

The most effective ways to curb climate change might surprise you. To reduce our impact on the climate and avert disaster, it’s going to take more than switching to high-efficiency light bulbs. But the most effective ways that individuals, policymakers and businesses can reduce our carbon footprint might surprise you. Let’s see how much you know about what can be done to fight climate change.

Yale Climate Opinion Maps. (Interactive) 

These maps show how Americans’ climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy support vary at the state, congressional district, metro area, and county levels. Get Yale Climate Communications latest reports here.

Global Warming’s Six Americas. 

One of the first rules of effective communication is to “know thy audience.” Climate change public engagement efforts must start with the fundamental recognition that people are different and have different psychological, cultural, and political reasons for acting – or not acting – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  NOTE:  You can find the latest survey information here and messaging strategies for the six Americas here.

Six America’s Quiz. Take the quiz to find out are you Alarmed, Concerned, Cautious, Disengaged, Doubtful, or Dismissive.

For strategies of how to invite various audiences into the discussion related to global warming, here are some additional recommendations:

Jonathan Haidt’s work on the moral foundations that drive our attitudes and behaviors:

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we’re left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.  Welcome to, where you can learn about your own morality, ethics, and/or values, while also contributing to scientific research. We are a group of professors and graduate students in social psychology.

The Righteous Mind:  Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt challenges conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to conservatives and liberals alike in this New York Times bestselling “landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself” (The New York Times Book Review).

Renee Lertzman, PhD on How to Turn Climate Anxiety into Action

It’s normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed by climate change, says psychologist Renée Lertzman. Can we turn those feelings into something productive? In an affirming talk, Lertzman discusses the emotional effects of climate change and offers insights on how psychology can help us discover both the creativity and resilience needed to act on environmental issues.

Project Inside Out.  We have launched this Hub with an invitation for the climate campaigning community to self-assess our theories of change and to shift our mind sets and skill sets toward Guiding. This is less of a methodology as a set of robust, flexible and powerful Guiding Principles. Within each Guiding Principle are applications for your work, whether it informs how you understand your stakeholders and members, or designing your entire engagement strategy. Our hope is that this is taken as a holistic approach, and you experiment and practice with each other and colleagues.

Towards 2040 – A Motivational Discussion. Damon reached out to Dr Renee four years ago when he started research for ‘2040’, keen to understand the psychology of apathy and disengagement when it comes to our biggest environmental and social challenges and to understand what can keep us buoyed, engaged and motivated to positive action. This conversation with Dr Renee inspired the solutions-focussed narrative of ‘2040’ and new ways to communicate the opportunity that the climate movement presents as we learn more about creativity, resilience, and problem-solving than ever before.

Robb Willer studies the forces that unite and divide us. As a social psychologist, he researches how moral values — typically a source of division — can also be used to bring people together. Willer shares compelling insights on how we might bridge the ideological divide and offers some intuitive advice on ways to be more persuasive when talking politics.

How to talk to someone who does not believe in climate change. 

Not every conversation with a climate denier has to lead to raised voices and hurt feelings. Here’s how to do it constructively.

Want to Learn More?

Check out our Events and Resources information page to learn more.

Also, don’t miss Climate Central’s write-up and media resources on the Pacific Northwest’s historic heat wave in 2021.

Earth picture by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash