Drawdown Ripple Effects in Iowa

Pachamama Alliance • 3 March 2019
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This News article was written based on an interview with Kristin Wildensee, a Game Changer Intensive Moderator and Drawdown Initiative Convener who lives in Mexico.


Kristin Wildensee was immediately drawn to the Project Drawdown message about reversing global warming when she first heard about it in the Game Changer Intensive. The opportunity to view global warming through a lens of possibility rather than despair or denial resonated with her. “You can actually be hopeful and realistic about taking action and turning this around. That’s the point, even more than the technology of different Solutions—it’s that feeling you have about it that changes everything,” she said.

She wanted to spread the message as part of the Pachamama Alliance Drawdown Initiative, but had moved to a new community and didn’t know how to get started there. When she heard about the Pachamama Alliance Stand Up in September, which fostered climate action around the world timed to coincide with the Global Climate Summit in San Francisco and Climate Week in New York City in September 2018, she saw a reason to get into action.

The opportunity presented itself in the Iowa City, Iowa area, where Kristin’s parents live. She was traveling there at the end of September and put the word out to people in that area that she thought might be interested in the Introduction to Drawdown: Reversing Global Warming workshop to ask if they would help out. Some friends from several groups, including the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Green Sanctuary Committee, said yes and were able to secure a room and publicize the event, which attracted 31 people.

Iowa Drawdown Intro

The event was so successful that the UU Green Sanctuary Committee asked her to lead another workshop in December when she was back for the holidays. This time 39 people attended. One of the participants was Reverend Diane Dowgiert, the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society. She shared with Kristin that “I left your presentation feeling genuine hope about climate change for the first time in a very long time. I was so inspired by your Drawdown presentation that I wanted to do what I could to spread the message.” And at the end of January, Reverend Diane delivered a sermon to the UU congregation entitled Ours To Do.

In an age of climate change when the warnings of scientists are dire, how do we respond? Paul Hawken, environmentalist, activist, and author embraces the possibilities presented, saying not game over but game on. He asserts that with a game-on attitude, we can reverse climate change. The work is ours to do, individually and collectively.

– Reverend Diane

Using inspiring yet playful music in the service, including the themes to Superman and Star Wars, Rev. Diane posed this opportunity:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to save planet Earth for human habitation. To accept this mission you will not need specialized education and you need not have any superpowers. All that is needed to accept this mission is a courageous heart that is willing to look unflinchingly at what is happening to Earth’s climate and say not “game over,” but “game on.” To accept this mission is to know that you will play an important role in facing a challenge unlike any faced by humankind before. Who, me? – you may be asking. Who am I to be offered this great mission? Do I have what it takes? Yes – you – and you – and you – and you – and you – have what it takes deep inside of you, waiting to be called into service. You need only be willing to say yes.

In addition to the ripple effect of Rev. Diane’s sermon, some of the workshop participants asked Kristin if she could train them to spread the Drawdown message. Before she returned home after the holidays, she trained nine people as Drawdown Initiative Conveners. As Kristin put it, “I can work in certain circles of people with my connections. If I train nine other people, we can leverage their networks that I couldn’t gain access to alone. They can take the message now and spread it. The ripple effect is getting bigger. More people empowered not just to attend the presentation, but to give it.”

As the ripple effects of Kristin’s engagement expand outward, a member of the church offered a different analogy. “Kristin actually made a big splash, rather than a ripple.”

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