The best climate solution? Family planning and well-educated girls

In thinking about climate change, many are quick to consider strictly “environmental” solutions–slash emissions, reduce food and water waste, shift to electric transportation, you name it. But, as David Roberts describes, Paul Hawken’s new research finds that women and girls hold the key to unlocking climate solutions:

The number one solution, in terms of potential impact? A combination of educating girls and family planning, which together could reduce 120 gigatons of CO2-equivalent by 2050 — more than on- and offshore wind power combined (99 GT).

In Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Hawken lists, in order, what he and his team found to be the top 100 ways to curb climate chaos. As the author of Natural Capitalism, Hawken has long been a notable expert on environmental issues. What’s fascinating about Drawdown is it handily connects the dots between family planning and the empowerment of girls through education–all of this leading to a future where we confront climate change and leave a better future for our kids. Since 225 million women around the world lack adequate access to family planning, our work is certainly cut out for us.

To learn more about Hawken’s promising collection of solutions and the research that went into it, visit Drawdown.org and read David Roberts’ interview with Hawken about the other surprising solutions he uncovered (refrigerant management, anyone?)