Since our emergence millions of years ago, we humans have always changed our surroundings. These environmental changes were mostly localized, but as human capabilities grew, so has the scale of change. In the last 150 years, human impact has reached a global scale. The magnitude and speed of this change may well be the defining moment in the history of our species. Climate change is not just about fossil fuels. It’s a sweeping and complex phenomenon. To address the issues involved, Project Drawdown created a six-video climate course that covers the causes of climate change with emphasis on solutions. The presentation is accurate and comprehensive without being overwhelming. 

If you’re a concerned citizen new to the science of climate change, this is a fantastic way to get your head around the topic. The course starts with the greenhouse effect and builds from there. If you’re climate literate and need a reference for key facts, you’ll find it here. You’ll be enlightened by clear graphics that illustrate key data on both the problems and solutions. 

If you’re a teacher looking for an easy way to cover the topic with students, this is it. The presentations are simple and clear. The material is suitable for high school level students and would serve as a useful framework for more intensive college investigation. Engaged adults and decision makers will find it useful and easy to digest. 

I’ve been tracking climate change information for decades, and I learned new facts, better understood relationships, and now have a clearer sense of the urgency of the crisis. For example, I learned that during the most recent ice age, when much of the northern hemisphere was covered with an ice sheet that was miles thick, the average global temperature was only 3°C below the current “normal.” Now, the average temperature is 1°C above normal, and polar ice is disappearing. This illustrates how small changes in the global average can have profound effects. With an increase of just 2°C from today’s temperature, which would be very likely under the current business-as-usual scenario, our planet would become unrecognizable. Now, that’s motivation! To help us turn that motivation into action, Climate Solutions 101 inspires hope that we can manage the crisis and gives concrete steps to do so. 

Climate 101 is structured in six succinct videos of about 15 minutes each — with a total running time of about 90 minutes:

  1. Setting the Stage
  2. Stopping Climate Change
  3. Reducing Sources
  4. Supporting Sinks and Improving Society
  5. Putting It All Together
  6. Making It Happen

Complementing each video are additional expert interviews, key graphics, and additional resources that take a deeper dive into the topic. 

While there are already many other education materials on the climate crisis, Climate Solutions 101 is unique in several ways. It’s a well written, professional quality production. It covers all greenhouse gas sources with corresponding solutions, many of which can and must be implemented immediately. It recognizes that new technologies will appear, and emphasizes that we need not wait for them. 

The climate crisis threatens to devastate the lives of many millions. Climate Solutions 101 offers a clear series of actions organized for implementation. Proceeding with them will improve human lives while combating climate change. All that is needed is leadership from individual citizens, corporations, and all levels of government.

There are many sources of greenhouse gases and countless challenges to overcome. It might seem daunting, but Climate Solutions 101 provides hope. Many sources and many challenges also mean there are many possible solutions. This crisis can also be a huge opportunity to build a more healthy, prosperous, and resilient society.