Reading the 2017 book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming was an outlook changer for Asheville High School science teacher Sarah Duffer. From a doomsday “consciousness of being victims to climate change,” she says, she became convinced that “climate change is really an invitation for us to create a more resilient, equitable, sustainable society and economy.”
Duffer saw the need for a similar shift of perspective in her students’ thinking about climate change. “They know that the clock is ticking and that [it’s] really up to their generation,” she says. When she discovered the inaugural Drawdown EcoChallenge, a global competition based on the book, she jumped at the chance to bring proactive solutions into her lesson plan.
Last year saw Duffer lead Asheville High against 765 other teams. The students achieved victory over the Taiwan Sugar Corp. in a leapfrogging race to make the most impact, earning most of their points through their time spent studying solutions to reverse climate change.
For this year’s challenge, April 3-24, Duffer has a different approach in mind. “We don’t need to win again,” she says. Instead, she wants to help other schools start teams and see more local teams put solutions into action. “It’s all about getting more people on board,” she points out.
Duffer says the approach is ideal for people in the area interested in promoting a resilient community because “Drawdown is about environmental, social and economic sustainability. Solutions are rooted in research and focused on equity.”
Editor’s note: As part of our monthlong celebration of this region’s commitment to sustainable ways of living and working in community, Xpress is highlighting some of those who are making a difference by taking action on a variety of creative and inspiring initiatives.