Today's guest is Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown. Project Drawdown is a world-class research organization that reviews, analyzes, and identifies the most viable global climate solutions, and shares these findings with the world. Their book, Drawdown, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and describes the hundred most substantive solutions to global warming. For each one, describes its history, its carbon impact, the relative cost and savings, path to adoption, and how it works. Dr. Foley is a world-renowned environmental scientist, sustainability expert, author, and public speaker. His work is focused on understanding our changing planet, and finding new solutions to sustain the climate, ecosystems, and natural resources we all depend on. We had a great discussion, and I hope you will check it out. Enjoy the show!
Today's guest is Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown. Project Drawdown is a world-class research organization that reviews, analyzes, and identifies the most viable global climate solutions, and shares these findings with the world. Their book, Drawdown, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and describes the hundred most substantive solutions to global warming. For each one, describes its history, its carbon impact, the relative cost and savings, path to adoption, and how it works.
Dr. Foley is a world-renowned environmental scientist, sustainability expert, author, and public speaker. His work is focused on understanding our changing planet, and finding new solutions to sustain the climate, ecosystems, and natural resources we all depend on.
Foley’s groundbreaking research and insights have led him to become a trusted advisor to governments, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and business leaders around the world. He and his colleagues have made major contributions to our understanding of global ecosystems, food security and the environment, climate change, and the sustainability of the world’s resources. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including many highly cited works in Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2014, Thomson Reuters named him a Highly Cited Researcher in ecology and environmental science, placing him among the top 1 percent most cited global scientists.
A noted science communicator, his presentations have been featured at hundreds of international venues, including the Aspen Institute, the World Bank, the National Geographic Society, the Chautauqua Institution, the Commonwealth Club, the National Science March in Washington, D.C., and TED.com. He has taught at several major universities on topics ranging from climate change, global sustainability solutions, the future of the food system, and addressing the world’s “grand challenges”. He has also written many popular pieces in publications like National Geographic, the New York Times, the Guardian, and Scientific American. He is also frequently interviewed by international media outlets, and has appeared on National Public Radio, the PBS NewsHour, the BBC, CNN, and in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Salon, WIRED, the HBO documentary on climate change “Too Hot Not to Handle”, and the upcoming film series “Let Science Speak”.
Foley has won numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, awarded by President Clinton; the J.S. McDonnell Foundation’s 21st Century Science Award; an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship; the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America; and the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award. In 2014, he was also named as the winner of the prestigious Heinz Award for the Environment.
Before joining Project Drawdown, Foley led a number of world-leading environmental science and sustainability organizations. From 1993 to 2008, he was based at the University of Wisconsin, where he launched the Climate, People, and Environment Program (CPEP), founded the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), and served as the first Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies. From 2008 and 2014, he was the founding director of the Institute on the Environment(IonE) at the University of Minnesota, where he was also McKnight Presidential Chair of Global Environment and Sustainability. Then, between 2014 and 2018, he served as the Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences, the greenest and more forward-thinking science museum on the planet.
In today’s episode, we cover:
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Enjoy the show!
Jason Jacobs: Hello, everyone. This is Jason Jacobs and welcome to My Climate Journey. This show follows my journey to interview a wide range of guests to better understand and make sense of the formidable problem of climate change, and try to figure out how people like you and I can help.
Jason Jacobs: Today's guest is Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown. Project Drawdown is a world-class research organization that reviews, analyzes, and identifies the most viable global climate solutions, and shares these findings with the world. Their book, Drawdown, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and describes the hundred most substantive solutions to global warming. For each one, describes its history, its carbon impact, the relative cost and savings, path to adoption, and how it works.
Jason Jacobs: We cover a lot in this episode, including what the organization has achieved with Drawdown 1.0, what they're aiming to achieve with Drawdown 2.0, the overall mission of the organization, their success to date, what's coming next, some of the hurdles, both internal and external, that are impeding its progress, some of the changes that could be made that could help accelerate that progress and, most importantly, not only how the work of Project Drawdown ties into the overall climate fight, but also what other levers can be impactful as well. Coming from someone with as much experience as Dr. Foley, he's got some great ideas in what each person can do to help the cause. Jonathan Foley, welcome to the show.
Jonathan Foley: Hey, thanks for having me here. I appreciate it.
Jason Jacobs: Alright, and we're trying something a little bit different sitting here at an outdoor café in Cole Valley. At least for now, it's quiet, so we'll see if that holds up.
Jonathan Foley: Yeah, we're sitting in a garden. You might hear some mass transit in the background, a local light rail goes by, a good drawdown solution for climate change you might hear in the distance once in a while, and we should be good to go.
Jason Jacobs: But surrounded by plant life like this, it's very on brand.
Jonathan Foley: Yeah, we're good. It is. We aim to please.
Jason Jacobs: Maybe just take it from the top. What's Project Drawdown?
Jonathan Foley: Project Drawdown, I'm very lucky to be serving as the Executive Director of this organization. It's been around a few years. I joined a little less than a year ago. It's devoted to finding solutions to climate change and sharing them with the world as quickly as we can.
Jonathan Foley: Drawdown is referring to a moment in time in the future when greenhouse gas levels stop going up, and they start going back down again, and we restore the atmosphere back to safety, back to what it naturally should be. We don't know when that's going to happen, but we're trying to bring that moment here sooner, and safer, and more equitably than it is right now.
Jonathan Foley: Drawdown, again, is a time in the future where we reverse the gases building up in the atmosphere that lead to global warming and climate change and we start to reverse it. Our mission is to get the world to drawdown as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible. We're about a half-and-half science organization and communication organization. We systematically review and analyze the solutions to climate change from an arm's-length, third-party point of view. We're non-commercial. We don't invest in any of these technologies. We're non-partisan. We're nonprofit. We try to review them from that Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval kind of distance and share that with the world, but we also are communicators who have tried to learn how to communicate this information in a way that can be heard, and used, and absorbed by real change agents in the world who affect solutions getting out there. It's been a good ride so far.
Jason Jacobs: When did the organization start and what's the origin story?
Jonathan Foley: I wasn't here for the origin story. You'd have to ask others, but a number of people, including people know about probably Paul Hawken, who is one of the co-founders, but along with Amanda Ravenhill, and Chad Frischmann, and a number of people were there at the beginning conceiving this idea of, "Hey, what if we looked at all the solutions proposed to climate change, and evaluated them, and maybe even rank them?" First, are they enough? Would we know if we have enough solutions to climate change? If so, which ones do we start with? Which ones have the biggest bang for the buck, so to speak?
Jonathan Foley: The idea started a couple years ago, probably in 2015, I think is starting the genesis of the idea, and about two years of active research and review was happening, and then a book came out in 2017 about a year and a half ago, and here we are in 2019 about to embark on the second chapter of Drawdown going big and trying to make an even bigger difference than we did. But the big thing people might know for Drawdown already is a book that came out in 2017 simply called, Drawdown, which became a New York Times Bestseller. It's one of the best-selling climate books in years and it's now appearing in, I think, over a dozen languages and still selling like hotcakes all over the world.
Jason Jacobs: I hear about it all the time from people, especially who are concerned, and trying to figure out what to do, and don't necessarily know where to start, and me included on that list. But for those people, and for me, it's been an invaluable resource, so thank you.
Jonathan Foley: Again, I wasn't there for that part of it. I'm going to be here for the second part, so thank me later, but you should thank the team, especially all the students, and post-docs, and research fellows we had. We've had about 100 people involved with this project off and on over the last couple years contributing their time and effort to make this really a community project. I'm really proud of that. Drawdown is really a chorus of voices, not just one. I think it represents a good perspective on what do we know about the solutions to climate change.
Jonathan Foley: The good news is there are many solutions. We wrote about 100 of them in the first book and that they're enough. Even with today's technology, we have enough solutions to stop climate change in its tracks in the next few decades with what we have today. It's only getting better. As we invent new technologies, we're getting better, and cheaper, and faster at this all the time. I think that's the good news, that climate change is a big, scary, serious problem, but the tools to combat it do exist and they're big enough tools to do the job. That's really the bulk of the Drawdown message from the first chapter of our existence was yes, we can solve climate change, and there are numerous tools with which to do it.
Jason Jacobs: When did you know that this was the work that you were going to do and how did you arrive at that conclusion?
Jonathan Foley: It's kind of funny. I just realized about a week ago, it was 30 years ago to the week last week that I decided to dedicate my life to climate change. Three decades I've been on this stuff in one form or another.
Jonathan Foley: I was a student at the time at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I wanted to be an astronomer. I wanted to go work on other planets. I was fascinated by Mars, and Jupiter, and Venus, and all the rest, and always wanted to be an astronomer, maybe even an astronaut, if we ever got to land on another planet, I wanted to be one of the people who could. But I always had an interest in the environment, and one day realizing, "Wait a minute. Those other planets can wait. This one can't."
Jonathan Foley: My training was originally in physics and I switched for my doctoral work. I majored in atmospheric science and oceanography, essentially, and started building computer models that helped understand the changing climate. Those had already been around for a while, but I was part of a team that was adding biology, and chemistry to those models, so we had a living, cycling planet, not just the winds and the ocean currents and the clouds, but even plants, and microbes exchanging chemicals with the atmosphere like carbon, water, and other things. That was really pretty interesting.
Jonathan Foley: Then I became a professor in '93 and spent about 20 years in the academic world running big research labs, and centers, and institutes focusing on global environmental systems like climate change, but also worked in issues like deforestation around the world, and the tropics. Spent a lot of time on that. Looked a lot at land-use practices around the world and how they affect climate, and not just burning energy, but burning trees matters, too, it turns out. I've spent a lot of time thinking about the world's food system and how it interacts with a global environment.
Jonathan Foley: But then about six years ago, five or six years ago, I guess now, I was getting more interested in not just doing science, but how do we communicate it with the world, and how do we share it so that it matters, it just doesn't end up stuck in the ivory tower somewhere. I came to San Francisco and became the CEO of the California Academy of Sciences, which is a really big science museum that was thinking about devoting itself to sustainability issues, including climate change. I spent four years as the CEO of the museum, learning a lot along the way about science communication, engaging the broader public, and really enjoyed all that.
Jonathan Foley: Then about a year ago left the museum world, wanted to get back more into hands-on science, and science community work. The end of last fall, a little less than a year ago, I was asked to take over Project Drawdown from its founder. He asked me to succeed him and take the organization into the next phase, so here we are.
Jason Jacobs: When you think about those 30 years, and you have that epiphany that other planets can wait, how are you feeling about the problem then, and how are you feeling about the problem now, and what's been the biggest change over that time?
Jonathan Foley: If you work in this business ... and a lot of people are writing about this now, and I'm so glad that more voices are coming to this stage from different points of view, different experiences, different disciplines. It's great that now we have psychiatrists and psychologists talking about how do people deal with climate grief and things like that. We talk about that now, but I think if you work on this kind of field, there's a tension between awe and inspiration every day of how magnificent this planet is, and how beautiful, and amazing its systems of energy, and water, and material are. But if you just think for a second about how this planet works, it should shock you into absolute reverence and awe. The most beautifully-magnificent machine in the universe is our biosphere. Nothing like it.
Jonathan Foley: You meet magnificent people along the way, too, brilliant scientists, and communicators, and entrepreneurs, and passionate regular folks who just blow you away with their insight, and their passion, and dedication to these issues. I've been very lucky in some ways to learn a little bit about this magnificent planet and meet some really amazing, brilliant people that have inspired me over the years. That's the good news.
Jonathan Foley: The bad news is you work in a field where there's a lot of bad news every day about things that we're starting to lose, whether it's coral reefs, or tropical forests, or stable weather patterns we've been used to for thousands of years that are starting to unravel now just as people had been predicting for decades. To not only see it happen, but to know that people have been actively trying to subvert your efforts for decades, to actively attack the science that your community is doing, attacking your friends, trying to make their lives miserable.
Jonathan Foley: People like Michael Mann, Katharine Hayhoe, even much prominent climate scientists are really out on the front lines. They are routinely, almost on a daily basis, have their lives threatened in a serious way, not just made up on Twitter, but real stuff that they need to be very careful about. That's pretty scary stuff for just a scientist to be dealing with. We didn't sign up for that when we went to grad school. We didn't think that you'd have to worry about your safety in some of these fields, but some people do.
Jonathan Foley: Also, to be told that you're a liar, and that you're a fraud, by your politicians. We have a president today who really believes that people like me and our friends are doing this for money somehow, or to hoodwink the world, or something, when in fact people are trying really hard to save it. I think all of us would have done a lot better if we went into tech or something, or finance. If you're thinking about going into science, it's not exactly a lucrative living for people who spend a lot of years studying math.
Jason Jacobs: That's one of the challenges with getting people from tech to move in this direction. It's harder work and it's less fun, and it's less lucrative.
Jonathan Foley: Yep. You're going to drop a few zeros from your salary right away. That's depressing. On one hand, you see the erosion of our planet, and while you're watching that, you're being attacked by the proxies of very powerful industries. It's not the politicians. They're just puppets. The people who are really doing this stuff, let's just say it. It's the biggest industry in human history is the petroleum industry. They have a very active interest in slowing down this conversation, making it seem like, "Well, the science isn't totally in yet. Let's talk about it some more." There's a whole book written about this called The Merchants of Doubt.
Jason Jacobs: I just watched the movie on the plane on the way here.
Jonathan Foley: Yeah, well, you should interview the woman who wrote the book. Her name is Naomi Oreskes. She's now at Harvard.
Jason Jacobs: I'm in Boston, too.
Jonathan Foley: Yeah, well, you should talk to her. She's a magnificent thinker and thinks a lot about this interface of science policy and power. It's kind of weird. Folks who are trained to be a scientist, we're mostly nerdy introverts who just want to be left alone to look at our data. Not many of us signed up for being under public scrutiny, or debating politicians, and people with power and money. That's not what a lot of us signed up for, so it's a strange place to find yourself.
Jonathan Foley: I've had relatively little of that compared to some people, enough to be a little scary sometimes. But gosh, my colleagues, again, like Katharine Hayhoe, a very prominent climate scientist from Texas, she's also an evangelical Christian. She's a wonderful spokesperson for our science to communities that otherwise might not hear us, or might not trust scientists right off the bat. But she also gets threats and attacks every day on social media, and in real life.
Jonathan Foley: Because she's a woman, it's even worse. There's a really striking correlation between climate deniers and misogynists jerks. It's actually statistically significant. A lot of the people who are climate deniers are also some of the most nasty male chauvinists you'll ever meet. She has to deal with that double dose of crap.
Jonathan Foley: Other scientists, like Michael Mann, have been attacked by members of Congress, by state legislators, by attorneys general. When he was at the University of Virginia, he was being attacked by political operatives, and also has had his life threatened. This shouldn't happen in the world today, but it does. I think we should tip our hat to some of those climate scientists who really have risked a lot to bring us a lot of bad news we don't want to hear, but we need to hear.
Jason Jacobs: What's interesting, when I asked the question, I was thinking about it more from the context of how has your thinking on the problem changed, but you honed right in on an issue that was not the way I intended the question, but I think is a very important one in that the scientists themselves really have made great sacrifices and take a lot of abuse along the way to try to do what's right and educate people on the importance and urgency of the problem. Now that I think about it, I think this is the first time that that's come up on the podcast, but also the podcast has had a lot of entrepreneurs, and NGOs, and people from finance, but not as many scientists when it's actually the scientists that are on the frontlines every day.
Jonathan Foley: The science community is on a frontline, but then there are the activists in other countries, especially who literally risked and lost their lives. People in Brazil, for example, have been assassinated for trying to protect rainforests. This, in fact, I believe this happened again today. There's some pretty horrible things like that happen. I'd say those folks are really on even the worst frontlines, but a lot of people are in different ways. I think that's just something we should recognize is that this is not easy work sometimes to be trying to uncover what's happening to our planet and being vilified for doing so. That's not a fun day.
Jonathan Foley: But on the positive side is you do, again get to spend your time thinking about this magnificent planet and you meet amazing people thinking about it and trying to help. That, to me, more than makes up for it. I think the glass is more than half-full from the satisfaction of doing this kind of work, but some days it isn't fun.
Jonathan Foley: But I guess, yes, what do you think about the problem, not the work itself, I guess? What's fascinating is a lot of the things that people were saying, let's say in the late '80's, when I started stepping onto this little stage, and others have been there long before, the predictions that people were making back in the late '80's about how fast climate change would be happening, and so on, are almost exactly on track.
Jonathan Foley: There's this weird myth out there that climate change is happening faster than the scientists predicted. That's actually not true at all. Go back to the 1992 IPCC report and look for to what it predicted for 2020. It's right on track, almost exactly for CO2 concentrations and for temperature change. There are some isolated examples of things that are happening a little faster than we thought, and some that are happening less fast than we thought. But on the whole, the predictions have been pretty accurate.
Jonathan Foley: I think that the scientists should take a little bow there, and it's done a pretty good job, actually, but it's really scary to think that this is starting to unfold. It's been 30 years since I started looking at those predictions and now we're living inside them. That's a little bit weird to realize, "Wow, the world has not taken this seriously. We spent 30 years hoping the UN would save us, hoping Washington's leaders would save us." It turns out that was complete crap. They haven't. I don't think they're going to.
Jonathan Foley: I think it's different kinds of leadership are going to have to emerge to force this kind of thing to happen. I think we need a sea change in the normal way society tries to do things together for this to really unfold. Fortunately, I think it's beginning to happen, but it's not the usual UN delegates, and members of Congress, and our president all trying to hold hands and sign an arms treaty or something. That's just not the way this is going to get solved. It's going to be very different.
Jason Jacobs: The one question that I have is we haven't talked too much about Drawdown 2.0, but in Drawdown 1.0, one thing the book does a really nice job of is illustrating here are the different areas that solutions could have impact, and here is the magnitude of impact that they could have if solutions were brought to bear. That's an important piece and I think that Drawdown 1.0 does that really well. What I've noticed ... and unlike you, who has been doing this for 30 years, I've been doing it for 10 whole months. Why do you laugh?
Jonathan Foley: No, it's great.
Jason Jacobs: I'm kidding. But one observation I've had in the brief time that I've been heading down this path is that there are two different frames that I find myself looking at. One is in an ideal world without constraints, what are the things that would have the highest impact, and then the other one is within the world that we live in, with the constraints that we do have, what are the things that are most probable to get done? Because at the end of the day, it's not just what the boldest plan is, but also the best combination of plan and [operationalization 00:19:17]. That can't be the word.
Jonathan Foley: Execution.
Jason Jacobs: Yeah, execution. Execution of that plan. It's that combination that ultimately brings about the highest impact. In that lens, it's there's an innovation piece. There's a government piece. There's a policy piece. There's a consumer sentiment piece. There's a journalism piece. There's a research piece. There's a foreign relations piece. There's a national security piece. On and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on. How do you think about that and how does Project Drawdown think about that in terms of potential solutions?
Jonathan Foley: Well, you raised a really excellent point. With Drawdown, we should be a little more precise about the language we use. We use the word solution to mean the things that went out and physically and chemically changed the air itself. The concentration of gases in the air went down because of a physical solution. That would be like a solar panel. That would be a forest growing. That would be a mangrove being restored. That would be better agriculture. That would be a new kind of windmill, or whatever. Something that affected the atmosphere in real physical terms.
Jonathan Foley: But then when we talk about accelerators outside of the solutions that make the solutions actually happen. That would be things like policy. That would be things like finance, that would be technology, that would be culture, that would be behavior change, all of those things. To implement the physical solutions we talk about, the solutions we have are things, and practices, and technologies. But to deploy them, we need changes in policy, changes in business practice, changes in capital, and financial flows. We need changes in culture and behavior. We need changes in governance, all of those things need to happen all at the same time. I think what we've done before is made the mistake of thinking big policy with a capital P, big international policy was the one tool we had to solve this problem.
Jason Jacobs: Like a global mandate.
Jonathan Foley: Like 180 countries will magically all agree, and not fight amongst themselves, and write a big piece of paper, and everybody will obey, and we'll save the world. That's what we've been for 30 years and it didn't work. Has it ever worked outside of maybe the Montreal Protocol? It kept the world peace for a long time. I'm grateful for that, but in terms of a lot of international problem-solving, this is a different kind of problem. I'm really interested in continuing that battle. I want those international diplomats to keep going. That's for sure. But I'm also much more interested right now in what cities are doing.
Jonathan Foley: In the United States right now, cities and states are leading the way in climate change, not Washington, obviously. But we have California, and now New York state, the two biggest economies in the country, together about 25% of the U.S. economy, by-the-way, are just in those two states, have some of the boldest climate plans and laws in the world. Not just the U.S., in the world. California is the fifth-largest global economy, if we were a separate country. After Brexit, probably shoot up a little more.
Jonathan Foley: This is fascinating stuff. California, New York state, and a whole bunch of cities, altogether about half the U.S. economy at the city level, and at the state level, are doing better than the Paris Accords. They're doing far better than Washington is doing, or the UN. Then we have other countries leading the way, too. A lot of good things are happening, but you wouldn't know it looking at Washington or looking at the UN process right now. You've got to look a little deeper. You've got to look at those other places.
Jonathan Foley: Then we see businesses stepping up and leading on climate change because destroying the planet turns out to be a really big business blunder. It's a bad business model. It will mess up the planet it turns out.
Jonathan Foley: We also see a lot of culture change in this respect. People are surprised to hear this, but the U.S., our peak emissions happened back in the year 2007, over 10 years ago. They've been going down basically ever since. We're now 15% below our maximum emissions, way under George W. Bush. We had a recession first, but then we got in a lot more energy efficiency. We got better CAFE standards. A lot of good things happened. Even if we didn't have a master climate policy for the U.S., a lot of good things were happening anyway.
Jonathan Foley: Trump has tried to undo a lot of those things as fast as possible. Thankfully, the courts are stopping most of those, but a lot of it's baked in. Coal is never coming back in the U.S. that's just economics. That's technology. It has nothing to do with federal policy anymore. It did for a long time, but now the market is taking over. Solar, and wind, and batteries are simply cheaper than coal already and-
Jason Jacobs: The same with natural gas. I know it emits, and that long-term we want to get off it as quickly as possible, but today, isn't natural gas one of the biggest drivers that's leading people to get off of coal?
Jonathan Foley: Not anymore. It was, yes. We had coal replaced by natural gas, which some people called a bridge fuel, others said it was a bridge to nowhere because it's still a carbon-emitting fuel, and there's methane leaks along the way. Methane, which is natural gas, is also a powerful greenhouse gas, so you create CO2, but you also leak this nasty methane in the atmosphere, which is a double-whammy. Natural gas may not have been a big climate savior we thought it was. Although, it did clean up air quality and a lot of other things along the way, too. It's a mixed bag.
Jonathan Foley: But the real solution is to get off of carbon fuels altogether, and that's where renewables have gotten cheaper faster than anybody ever predicted. Now, we're not just talking about getting rid of coal. It's getting rid of coal, for sure, and probably getting rid of natural gas by 2030 in much of the U.S. and abroad. The physics of this, the technology, solar and wind are getting cheaper. Nobody has been able to keep up with those forecasts. They've gotten cheaper faster than anyone I've ever seen dare to make a prediction about the price of solar. Solar prices have fallen faster than even the most optimistic optimists.
Jonathan Foley: In at least the electricity sector, which is only about 1/4 of climate change, by-the-way, all the electricity created in the world creates about 1/4 of the climate change problem. Food and agriculture and land use is also about 1/4 and doesn't get nearly the same attention. But electricity, I think we've hit a tipping point where coal and gas are now the past. Solar, wind, hydro, and storage are the future. That's happening faster than anybody ever predicted and markets are moving that needle more than policy now. Needed policy to get started, but now the markets are moving it ahead quite well, and policy can help. Now the costs are driving it.
Jonathan Foley: Now we need to look at the other sectors of climate change. Climate change requires us to focus in about five major areas. 25% of climate change is electricity, globally. 25% is food, and agriculture, and land use. Not nearly enough attention to that. We'll get back to that in a second. The next biggest area is industry, about 20%, then transportation, and then buildings. All those five sectors again: electricity, food, industry, transport, and buildings. That altogether is 90% of the climate change emissions problem. Five things, that's 90%. Electricity gets way more than its share of attention in the media, and in discourse, and technology, and investment, and grants, but it's the one we're the closest to solving now.
Jonathan Foley: I want to focus a lot more attention on the other sectors, like food and agriculture, equally important to electricity, yet not nearly the same investment in technology. Hardly anybody in venture capital or finance are paying attention to it until recently, but we need to work on that. Transportation, buildings, huge problems. Legacy infrastructure there. Trillions of dollars of highways, rails, ports, airplanes, airports.
Jonathan Foley: Every building on earth will have to change fundamentally how it's lit, how it's heated, how it's cooled, how you get to it. We're talking about trillions of dollars of baked-in infrastructure that's much bigger than the electricity infrastructure. How are we going to turn all that over? We can electrify a lot of it, but it's going to take decades to flip it all over. This is also in a world where China, India, and other countries are explosively investing in their infrastructure. This is a big problem.
Jonathan Foley: I think we need to take away our attention a little bit from just electricity, and coal and oil, switching in coal, gas, and oil to solar and wind. That's the easy problem. Now let's talk about forests. Let's talk about our food supply. Let's talk about all the buildings we've already built, and all the infrastructure for transportation that we can't electrify. Let's talk about concrete. Let's talk about steel. Let's talk about hydrofluoric carbons, which are the most important potent greenhouse gas we emit. Those are other problems we need to address in climate change. That's why Drawdown looked at all of those sectors, and we came up with 100 solutions, not just a few like solar panels and windmills.
Jason Jacobs: Does Project Drawdown, or do you have a view when it comes to looking at all of these different areas, and on what the most impactful things we can do are to accelerate our progress overall?
Jonathan Foley: Drawdown, one point out of the original book, I think of it as a good coffee table book, imagine a really good food book. Here's a coffee table book about cuisine. You can flip through it and you see all the different kinds of food. Oh, that's lovely. That's lovely, but it's not a recipe.
Jason Jacobs: It's how I've heard people talk about having engaged with the book as well. Candidly, that's how I've engaged with the book as well, flipping through it as if it's coffee table reading.
Jonathan Foley: Yeah, well, that was the intent is to inspire people and engage them in a very readable format that's engaging and beautiful. I think we did our job, but it's a coffee table book about food. It doesn't tell you how to actually make the recipe. It isn't a plan yet. It's more of a sketch of what that world could look like. That was our only goal. I think it succeeded brilliantly, but now we need to figure out, okay, between now and 2050, how do you actually do it? How do you bake that beautiful casserole you have a photo of here, tell me how delicious it is. How do you actually bloody make it? What are the ingredients? What do I do first? Do I preheat the oven or do I not? Do I baste it in olive oil or butter? Do I do this kind of dish or that kind of dish? What's the actual plan?
Jonathan Foley: That's where we're a little bit stuck as a community right now is that right now I think electricity is going to make big, bold steps in the next five to 10 years. That's where we're going to have the biggest changes.
Jonathan Foley: Other fronts that are ripe for change in the 2020's, to get us as fast as we can away from climate change disaster, I would focus a lot on methane leaks. It's kind of funny. Methane is another greenhouse gas that's in for the next 20 years, but 80 times more powerful than CO2 on a molecule for molecule basis, but then it disappears from the atmosphere after about 20 to 30 years. It just chemically goes away, where CO2 lives for centuries. It's got a big punch, but a short lifetime. But if you want to keep the planet cooler, if you want to hit the emergency brake on climate change right now, hit methane, nitrous oxide, and the fluorinated gases, the ones that-
Jason Jacobs: Because they get out the quickest?
Jonathan Foley: They pack a disproportionate punch, and they are smaller places in the economy. You can go track them down and stop them. A lot of the natural gas leaks come from leaky natural gas pipes, fracking infrastructure where they didn't really plug all the leaks of natural gas fracking sites, basically where they're drilling for it, hydraulic fracturing. It also comes from agricultural sites, of course, from cattle, and landfills, and rice fields. That's a big challenge, but we can tighten up a lot of those leaks pretty quickly. That would have an immediate, huge impact for the next decade or two, if we could tighten up natural gas leaks, and reduce methane from agriculture and landfills. Huge.
Jonathan Foley: That would buy us time to then focus on the longer-term solutions we need in things like steel, or retrofitting all the buildings in the world, retrofitting our entire transportation infrastructure. No matter how fast we do that, it's going to take a really long time. Think of cars. We're so proud to see Tesla is on the road today, but for every electric vehicle sold today, there are about 15 SUVs and pickup trucks sold in America. Those cars will all be on the road for about 15 to 20 years.
Jason Jacobs: Now, is the goal of Drawdown to take all the information that you just said ... because now you've said, "Here are the areas that we think can be high impact, given our budget, and within the necessary timeframes." Okay, so that's starting to do some prioritization. But what about the next step, which is, "And if you want to bring that about, here's the role for innovation, here is the role for policy, here is the role for research, here is the role for R&D"? My question is not, "Drawdown, you should do everything," but which piece are you taking on, and is that information then getting to the people that need to carry the torch to do the rest?
Jonathan Foley: That's a really good question. This is just my own personal reaction to that. I'm not going to speak for anybody else in the organization, but we talk about it a lot, but this is just my answer. We're debating this a bit. But if you look at those five areas, again, electricity, food and ag industry, transport, and buildings, I look at what's the current state of play, what's happening today, and where do we want it to be? A completely greenhouse-gas-free economy in those sectors by 2050 timeframe is the best-case scenario. Right? We've modeled it out so that it's at least possible, but then what foot do you start with? Where do you start?
Jonathan Foley: You've got to think, I think, a little bit more like a tech investor, kind of like, okay, let's stage-gate the problem. What's the next biggest limiting factor between where you are today and success? That's all Elon Musk thinks. He does one problem at a time, knocks down that domino, then the next domino. He wants to go to Mars. Okay, what's the first thing you've got to do? You've got to make rockets cheaper. How do you do that? You make them reusable. How do you do that? You know, blah, blah, blah. He just goes through these problems step by step, by step.
Jonathan Foley: I think about that the same way. Electricity. What's the biggest limiting factor between today and success? Right now, it's not innovation or R&D, it's deployment. We have it. Go. The more you deploy, the cheaper it gets. The cheaper it gets, the more you deploy. Run. More R&D would help, but I don't think we're limited by basic science, and R&D, and electricity. Could it help? Absolutely, but we've got a lot we haven't even used yet. The power of deployment and markets is ready to go.
Jonathan Foley: In agriculture and land use, we're limited mostly by policy. We have a lot of really bad policies in the U.S., for example, that encourage food waste, bad diets that aren't healthy for climate or for people, and also exploitive agriculture that hurts the soil, decreases its ability to store carbon, and also encourages other places to tear down rainforests to grow beef and soybeans. We, China, a bunch of other countries are doing these bad things. We need policy change there, as well as cultural change longer-term to begin to shift diets in a more climate-friendly direction, led first by policy, but also along with a wave of culture, as well as reducing food waste. Again, I think policy and culture change are the biggest levers. Technology has a role to play in there, too, but I think we need to think about it a little differently.
Jonathan Foley: Industry, we need some R&D. I don't know how we're going to make concrete in the future because concrete, if it were a country, would be the third-largest emitter of CO2 in the world after China and the United States. We don't yet have a commercially-viable form of concrete to use to replace what we currently use today. Who is going to do that? Who is investing in that technology? A few places are. Bill Gates is, a few other people are, but not enough.
Jonathan Foley: I want DOE, I want Commerce. I'd like to see a [crash 00:34:40] program in the federal government to throw billions of dollars in climate-safe concrete. That would be a great investment for R&D. Let's get our national labs on that stuff. How do we make steel? How do we make long-haul aviation fuel that's climate-friendly? Nobody is going to give up flying except for a few environmentalists. Most people still want to fly. How are we going to make that climate-friendly? Electric airplanes? That's not going to go across the Atlantic yet, so how are we going to do that? There's a place there for R&D.
Jonathan Foley: I think each of those sectors is at a different moment. Some need markets and deployment. Some need policy. Some need basic R&D because we don't even have the technology cheap enough to make it viable yet.
Jason Jacobs: Drawdown 1.0 sold hundreds of thousands of copies.
Jonathan Foley: Yep.
Jason Jacobs: Other than book sales number, is there any feedback loop to know out of those hundreds of thousands of copies what kind of impact was there with your work?
Jonathan Foley: It's interesting because in Drawdown 1.0, they chose to write a book, literal paper book that's sold by Amazon and other places. There's a digital version as well. It's sold magnificently well. It's the bestselling climate book in a long, long time, and it's still selling.
Jason Jacobs: I'm not dinging it, by-the-way, and I'm also not suggesting that there is not impact beyond the book sales. What I'm trying to get at, though, is assuming that there is impact, which I'm sure there is, how do you know?
Jonathan Foley: The good thing about a book is it's very tangible. It's physical. It's real. You can hand it to people. People are inspired by it. They flip through it. It's a great, great, great resource. I love that.
Jonathan Foley: The problem with a book is that it's expensive to distribute the per cap. You buy the book, it costs about $18. It costs us another $50 to write it. That's a very expensive per person impact model, so that's going to be really hard to scale up to a billion people, let's say. I don't have that kind of money laying around to fund.
Jonathan Foley: Also, you don't have the immediate digital feedback loop of knowing who clicked on the book. Where did it go? Did they share it on Twitter or Facebook? All those digital analytics aren't there anymore. We have mainly anecdotal information.
Jason Jacobs: Even if it was in seven billion hands, is there anyway to know what is the outcome of having it in those seven billion hands? What outcome do you hope for? Do you see what I'm getting at?
Jonathan Foley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. There's two levels of impact. One is the sales of the book, and how many people maybe read it, shared it, and talked about it.
Jason Jacobs: I'm sure it has second and third order effects that you can't track.
Jonathan Foley: We're tracking some of them because we can see media mentions. We've had two different TED Talks done by my colleagues, Katharine Wilkinson and Chad Frischmann, who have had, I think, four million views there, and a whole bunch of interviews, and media. I think the total eyeball shed of Drawdown is in the tens of millions, easily. Probably much more than that. Maybe in the hundreds of millions have heard about it, or seen something related to it. But then, yes, so what? Now, did it change anybody's practice?
Jason Jacobs: I want more eyeballs on it because if we get more eyeballs on it, then A, B, and C.
Jonathan Foley: I have a lot of examples I've been collecting for the last few months of people who have told me, "Here's what we did with this." For example, a major company, Intuit, makes software, like a TurboTax, and QuickBooks. They make accounting software that a lot of us use when we file our taxes. They're now a big international company. They sell software like that all over the world, in fact. Huge company. They committed to being climate-neutral by about 2020. They had gotten more efficient, cut their own primary emissions down like crazy with efficient cloud services, and cutting back on everything, more efficient buildings. You name it, done everything they can possibly do, then buying renewable energy to get the greenest possible electrons into their facilities, and so on.
Jonathan Foley: Everything is great, but they still had to offset and remove a little bit of emissions by doing a carbon offset somewhere. They were going to do something like plant trees, and put up solar panels, the usual thing. Then they read Drawdown and said, "Wait a minute. The number one recommendation from Drawdown is working with refrigerant chemicals, these hydrofluoric carbons that are super-pollutants that cause way more climate change per pound than any other gas. Who is working on that?"
Jonathan Foley: Crickets. Nobody was. No big corporation was working on managing refrigerants as their climate offset strategy. Intuit read our book, shared it with their senior leadership up in the C-suite, that book passed around, and they got permission to, "Okay, let's go out and figure out how we can remove refrigerants from getting into the atmosphere."
Jason Jacobs: That's a good example.
Jonathan Foley: That's a really good example. They hired a team to go to West Africa, to Ghana, where a whole bunch of air conditioners and refrigerators from all over the world were being dumped illegally. In the U.S. and in Europe, legally, when you throw away a refrigerator, air conditioner, or freezer, you have to recover the chemicals in those coils, the hydrofluoric carbons. It used to be chlorofluorocarbons. Now they're hydrofluoric carbons. They're ozone-friendly, but they're not climate-friendly. They still trap heat in the atmosphere. In this country, you're required to recover those or destroy them so they don't get into the atmosphere, but not in West Africa. They're just left to rust in a landfill someplace.
Jonathan Foley: They hired a third-party company to independently verify and audit this, and sent a bunch of engineers out there to work with the local communities, recover those devices, and chemically destroy right on the ground all those refrigerants so none of them got into the atmosphere. That was a really good day. Our little book tipped that whole organization into doing that. They're going to make a pretty bold announcement in about two weeks about their next plans, also inspired by Drawdown.
Jonathan Foley: There's other companies like Interface, who makes carpeting and flooring. We've worked with them for years. They've now done something called the Carbon Take Back program, about, "Hey, we want to not just cut down our emissions. We want to go back and remove our historic emissions we've ever put in the atmosphere. How do we do that? How do we take back the CO2 we still emit?"
Jonathan Foley: We've had a lot of influence on local communities and from government and thought leaders. Bill Gates and others funded something called the Breakthrough Energy Ventures. This is about a $2-billion venture fund here in Silicon Valley area. I was told by one of their founders that, "Yeah, the first two things people get when they come in the door is their badge and a copy of Drawdown." That's a good day, too.
Jonathan Foley: We've heard from hundreds of philanthropists controlling probably billions of dollars saying, "Hey, we've read your book. It's been great advice. Now, can you give us more advice about where we should invest our grants, our philanthropy, maybe even our personal financial investments on climate solutions? Can you give us tools to do a better job?"
Jonathan Foley: In Drawdown 2.0, we're going to hear that call and dive in. We're going to not only move beyond books, and create the best digital resource for climate solutions the world has ever seen, Drawdown.org, come by the end of the year is going to have amazing new research, and resources, and directories. We're going to have online classes, ways to find projects, and an amazing living, breathing resource will be updated on a weekly basis, way more interesting than a book can be because it's going to be a living entity, and much more multidimensional.
Jonathan Foley: Also, in Drawdown 2.0, we're going to be working with partners in communities, and cities around the world, with businesses around the world, and investors and philanthropists to help them implement these solutions out there in reality. Not just talk about them, but go out and do them. That's going to be a huge impact building on the effect the book already had in the first place, which is pretty exciting.
Jason Jacobs: I love that direction because as I was hearing about all these different solutions, it's like, great, identify, educate. Great. Let's go do it. But then it's like if those bridges aren't actually getting built to operationalize these solutions, then what's the point? But I'm really glad to hear that, one, it's great to hear that just anecdotally, even without you building those bridges systematically, that the knowledge is so valuable that it's doing its job and getting it out there. But now you're taking the next step it sounds like, and actually starting to formalize that so that it makes that dissemination and matching process a lot more efficient.
Jonathan Foley: Yeah, exactly. Gandhi once said something kind of brilliant. He said, "Anything that exists is possible." We show that these solutions do in fact exist. They physically were enough to make the problem of climate change solvable. The existence theorem. Can we solve climate change? We very definitively showed yes we theoretically can. We have the tools necessary to do it today. That was already enough to inspire people to make their own leaps across the bridge and start implementing them. I'm pretty proud of the impact even our book had of describing the solutions. People then themselves went out and found ways to go implement them.
Jonathan Foley: In Drawdown 2.0, we want to help them even further, and faster, and at-scale to go implement at a much quicker pace than it was before. But also, we shouldn't forget the larger psychological impact that book had. It had a big change in people who read it who, I don't know how many people told me, for example, said, "Wow, before I read Drawdown I just felt hopeless about climate change. All I saw was the bad news and how the politicians were screwing it up. They weren't doing enough. I thought it was hopeless and nothing could be done, but I read Drawdown and it reminded me of, hey, we're not necessarily doomed. We don't have to be. That's just a choice we're making to not get off the mat and get up and solve the problem. Drawdown shows us we can."
Jonathan Foley: There's been a really large intangible benefit, I think, of the first book of showing the world the possibility of a better world. That inspires people, showing people a vision of a better world and asking them to join you in building it is the way the world always changes. Martin Luther King didn't go around the world saying, "I have a nightmare." Right? Telling how bad the world is going to be and blaming other people for it.
Jonathan Foley: That's what our politicians do, by-the-way. They have us arguing about the forms of our nightmare rather than collaborating over for the visions of our dream. That's what we need. We need a different kind of leadership that inspires us to say, "Hey, that's a world I want. I'm going to fight for that and make it happen." Drawdown at least gave people a sketch of that world, saying, "It's at least possible. Here's a world that could work. Let's go out and do that." Now, Drawdown 2.0, we want to double-down and make more tools, more resources, more connections so that that world becomes a reality.
Jason Jacobs: Here's a fun question. If you could wave your magic wand and change one thing that is outside of the scope of the Drawdown roadmap that would best accelerate the path to operationalize the solutions that you've identified, what would it be? It could be anything. It could be a policy thing. It could be an innovation thing. It could be a philanthropic thing. It could be a consumer sentiment thing. It could be something else that I'm not even thinking about.
Jonathan Foley: Wow, that's a great question. I'm going to cheat and give you a couple of different maybe halfway answers to that. One answer that a lot of people would probably put out there is saying, "Hey, look, we've got to change the economic playing field and put a price on carbon that reflects its social cost, that when we burn carbon, it's changing the atmosphere. It's doing a lot of other things like oil spills, and causing other pollution, and all sorts of economic problems." Blah, blah, blah. Maybe we should pay for that somewhere in the equation so that we pay the real cost of fuel, not just its fake cost.
Jonathan Foley: That would help a lot because it would tilt the scales towards more carbon-friendly, and a low-carbon or zero-carbon markets and technologies right away. Markets work, but right now we have a big thumb on the scale in favor of fossil fuels. They're subsidized beyond belief directly and indirectly. They have enormous political power and they're not priced at all at what their real cost is. That would be the single biggest lever you could probably imagine as getting rid of the political power fossil fuels have and putting the real price they really have on society on the cost.
Jonathan Foley: Of course, that would be hugely disruptive to everyday people at first if we did that all automatically. It would have to be a fee and dividend. Maybe that money goes back to regular taxpayers. There are a lot of different ways we could implement that, but pricing carbon accordingly would be a good place. To even begin to have that conversation, you have to get money out of politics. You got to have a restoration of democracy in this country. You can't even begin to have a conversation in D.C. right now and you probably can't. I think that's a really, really tough thing.
Jason Jacobs: What change would you bring about to restore our democracy?
Jonathan Foley: Well, get rid of Citizens United. Money does not equal speech. Speech equals speech. Money equals money. They're different things. I'm no constitutional scholar. You shouldn't ask me opinions about how to do that, but it's clear that that's distorted the politics, regulation, and subsidization of certain markets over others. Fossil fuels get a huge subsidy in forms of government subsidies, and the military expenditures are used to safeguard oil supplies, and so on, and the social cost is ignored. We just get sick, and we destroy our climate for our future, and nobody pays the price. That's ridiculous. No other industry can get away with that.
Jason Jacobs: Do you have a third?
Jonathan Foley: I think we have to look for different voices to inspire us. I think the kind of leadership we've had, I started listening to a lot of new voices in the climate community lately, many of whom are young folks, youth movement. Like Greta from Sweden we've all been watching with admiration, but also more women and people of color who have been stepping forward.
Jonathan Foley: Climate change has been overwhelmingly a White, male kind of field, but it sounds politically correct when I'll say this, but there's really a lot of merit to the argument that we've got to look at this climate a little differently. I think we need to look at the systems we use in the world today, which are largely pretty exploitive. We drill stuff out of the ground, make profit for the short-term, and leave behind a giant mess. A lot of people point out that's the kind of path a lot of rich, White dudes often employ.
Jonathan Foley: It's interesting. There's a funny story I've heard secondhand now, but that Mary Robinson, the former prime minister of Ireland was once giving a speech about climate change and somebody stood up and said, "Well, I don't believe in manmade climate change." The story goes, I don't know if it's true, but the story goes, well, she took great offense to that. "Manmade? I'm a feminist. How dare you?" Then she stops. "Well, wait a minute. Actually, this is a manmade problem. Look at the oil companies. Look at big ag. Look at the people that caused this mess. It's largely men, and largely White men who did a lot of this crap. Maybe the solutions will come from different places."
Jonathan Foley: That's often what happens. Some of our biggest challenges often have solutions from people who have been kept out of power, who had different kinds of ideas. I'm starting to hear that a lot more and more, and embracing that. I think a sea change in the economics, and the regulations, and how we do our politics, but also in the culture, in the story we tell ourselves, and who gets to tell that story of what future do we want. I think the culture needs to change, too. That sounds a little more squishy, but I think it's nonetheless incredibly important. We probably need all three.
Jonathan Foley: What inspires me right now mostly is the new voices coming to climate. Not just old, White dude hippies, or something, or old, White science guys like me, or something. I think we've had our day. We're going to still be important, still things to say. We're not giving up, but I'm really impressed by the new voices coming to the climate movement, the youth. It's hard to take them for granted, looking at these kids who are just saying, "Hey, this is about our future," and they're risking their reputation, their time, and their lives maybe in some cases to really change the conversation is huge.
Jonathan Foley: Also, a lot more women, more people of color, more entrepreneurs, more innovators, more writers. We're going to need a lot of different thinkers to solve this one. What got us into this mess is one kind of thinking. What will get us out has got to be something else.
Jason Jacobs: Two more questions and then I'll let you get to your next commitment.
Jonathan Foley: Okay.
Jason Jacobs: One is just it's a similar question, except with dollars. If you had $100 billion and you could allocate it towards anything to maximize its impact in the climate fight, where would you put it, and how would you allocate it?
Jonathan Foley: Right now, $100 billion, I'd buy the Amazon, basically. I mean, seriously, the deforestation right now emits about 10% to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, depending on which numbers you look at. That's equivalent of all the world's transportation. It's done mainly in a couple of places in the world. Historically, half of the deforestation on the planet happens in Brazil and in Indonesia for about four major commodities: beef, soybeans, palm oil, and timber. A few countries, a few big commodities, and you could eliminate one of the big contributors to climate change, and one of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss in the world, also one of the biggest insults to indigenous peoples and human rights in the equatorial regions all in one fell swoop.
Jonathan Foley: Now, could you literally buy the Amazon, or buy Indonesia? No. But could you maybe set up incredible multigenerational trusts? Could you do things that are setting up a global trust for the future in forest? Could you enforce it? Could you have legal instruments? Could you do things that actually protect the Amazon, the Indonesian archipelago, and the future of West Africa, the Congo, for $100 billion. I think you could make a big dent in that problem. That's where I'd focus it more than anything else.
Jonathan Foley: Other people would probably look at different kinds of technologies like nuclear, or fusion, or batteries, or something like that. That's cool, too, but I look at the forest because if we lose those, we lose a huge place where emissions are happening, but also a place that carbon is being removed from the atmosphere. But not only that, this treasure of biodiversity this planet's had, it took millions of years to evolve, could literally disappear. We should act to preserve it. That's where I'd put the money first.
Jason Jacobs: My last question is just that there's many different kinds of people that might be listening to this podcast, but they all share, or certainly many, if not all of them, share something in common, which is that they care about the planet, and about this problem. They're concerned about it, and they want to find a way to help, so talk to all of them for a moment. What advice do you have for people that are trying to find their lane to help get a better handle on this problem? You can either have one message for all of them, or you can segment and have different messages for different profiles in that audience, but it would be great if you could just speak to them for a moment, speak to listeners.
Jonathan Foley: One of my heroes is someone named Katharine Hayhoe, who is a climate scientist in Texas. She's really a magnificent scientist and communicator. She often says the best thing we can do about climate change is learn about it and talk about it because talking about it helps us accept the scary part of it. You talk through the fear and the anxiety of like, "Geeze, this is a big, freaking problem." When you talk through it a little bit, it's like managing your anxiety and grief about it.
Jonathan Foley: Then you're sharing information. Everybody is now a little media empire with their podcasts, their Facebook page, their Twitter followers, Instagram followers, whatever sharing helps. People want to hear from people they trust, people that are their friends, and people they know. I think that would help a lot.
Jonathan Foley: But also, we're going to need everybody in all different walks of life to solve this problem. This is not going to be just the policymakers, and certainly not just the scientists, or just the engineers. The solutions to climate change, the things that tip us into the better future, could come from wildly unexpected places. Who thought a girl with Asperger's from Sweden named Greta would change the way the world is talking about climate change and sail from Sweden to New York to do it? That's a remarkable thing. Who would have predicted that a year ago? But it's probably the most influential person in climate change in the world right now. That's amazing.
Jonathan Foley: Don't think the power of any one individual is minuscule. It's not. That is what changes the world. We need everyone in their niche. People sometimes ask, "So what can I do about climate change?" I look at them and say, "I don't know. What can you do? Tell me what you can do and then I'll answer the question." Usually the answer is, "Keep doing that, but now apply that to climate change. You're a great engineer. Great. We need you there. Are you a great entrepreneur? Great. We need you there. Are you a great writer? Cool. We need help with that, too. Are you an activist? Great. Do that. Are you a storyteller? Are you a teacher? Are you a public health official, or a nurse, a doctor? Yes, yes, yes. We need you all."
Jonathan Foley: Don't think that you can't help with climate change. Inevitably, we will need you. This is going to be one of the big heroic moments for human history, I think. I think we're going to get it right. I really am somewhat stubbornly optimistic about the future still. Hard to be that some days, but I think that when we really have our backs up against the wall, we can be great and do magnificent things. I'd really like to see us do it and really like to see us try, at least. It's going to need all of us, and from unexpected places, so whoever is listening, please join in, and we need you.
Jonathan Foley: I want to look back some decades from now and be really proud of the tipping point that we're about to enter where we're like, "Oh, wow. We were on the brink of disaster, but we just pulled it out in time and made a really good choice, and the world is getting better." That will be cool. I want to tell that story. Can you help us? That would be great.
Jason Jacobs: I think that's a terrific point to end on. Jonathan, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Jonathan Foley: Yeah, hey, thanks for doing this. I appreciate it. Thanks for all your help in sharing this message to the world in your journey as well. It's been really fun to follow it from afar. Thanks.
Jason Jacobs: Hey, everyone. Jason here. Thanks again for joining me on My Climate Journey. If you'd like to learn more about the journey, you can visit us at MyClimateJourney.co. Note, that is dot-co, not dot-com. Some day we'll get the dot-com, but right now, dot-co.
Jason Jacobs: You can also find me on Twitter at JJacobs22, where I would encourage you to share feedback on the episode, or suggestions for future guests you'd like to hear. Before I let you go, if you enjoyed the show, please share an episode with a friend, or consider leaving a review on iTunes. The lawyers made me say that. Thank you.