My Summer Adventure
I’d like to tell you about my summer adventure. No, it wasn’t a trip to an exotic location, or a week by the lake. It was three days at a conference centre in Chicago. Hmmm, not too exciting? In fact, it was very exciting. It was an intense, inspiring and memorable experience. Along with 1200 people from 70 countries around the world I took part in the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training. The Corps is one of several initiatives of the Climate Reality project begun by Al Gore after his ground-breaking movie An Inconvenient Truth in 2006. The movie served as a wake-up call to many people on the urgency of the climate crisis. He then went on to train people to go out into their own communities and make presentations based on the film. The slide show is updated constantly, and there have been 6,000 Climate Leaders trained to date.
Back to the training, which was outstanding. We spent about half the time learning the facts of climate change (taught by Al Gore himself!), and the other half learning about how to effectively engage with people. There was a strong emphasis on getting the facts right, but also an acknowledgement that it’s hard to inspire people with facts alone. We need to connect with people’s emotions, experience and values. We were encouraged to tell our own story to show why we feel so passionately about this issue.
Here are just a few of the many important messages that I took away with me.
- We need to “win the conversation” at the grassroots level with our friends and families, at schools and places of work. To do that we must “boldly and consistently communicate the truth about climate change.”
- We do have a choice, and it’s wrong to ignore future generations.
- We must challenge denial. To help fight denial go to http://climaterealityproject.org/put-the-heatondenial/
- It’s important to be clear about the problem but also to talk about solutions. One solution, putting a price on carbon, is essential to curbing emissions.
- The stakes are high. The future of the human race hangs in the balance. When Al Gore was asked “Is it too late?”, his answer was no. It’s too late to avoid any consequences, but truly catastrophic impacts can be avoided.
So let’s get to work!