Climate Reality for All Ages
By Stephanie Herron
On November 14, 2012 I was invite to give my very first Climate Reality presentation since being trained by Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project back in August. Even better, I got to present it to a group High School Nature Enthusiasts!
I first met Katie Trent, President of Newark High Nature Society, while tabling at Newark Community Day. She, her friends and I got talking and they invited to me to come talk about climate change to their awesome group. I admit that I was a little nervous, I mean this was my very first time trying to give this presentation and after all, I’m no Al Gore. There was also the small matter of the original slideshow being 257 slides not including those that I added about climate change on our region… Hurricane Sandy ring a bell?
Arriving at the High School did little to alleviate this anxiety. Every door to get into the school was locked (which I suppose is the safe thing to do) and I felt that twinge of awkwardness that a High School instills in anyone over the age of 20. Thankfully Katie and a few others met me right inside the door and lead me to a super -cool class room full of posters on the walls and class pets.
I was (almost) immediately relieved to find a bigger-than-expected group of bright-eyed students who had taken the time to hang around and hear about climate. It was very inspiring to see high school students who were so informed and enthusiast about protecting the environment! In fact it made me wonder why I was so lame in high school.
I went through my Climate Reality presentation in similar style to the way Al Gore does in An Inconvenient Truth (less charming and with updated facts, of course). Just like I was taught I started off with painting the picture of Reality. The Earth is getting hotter, droughts AND floods are simultaneously intensifying and people and animals are ALREADY dying as a direct result of the Climate Crisis.
Sea level rise gets a relatively small mention in the original slideshow but I did harp on that a bit, given that the stakes are so high for us here in Delaware. As you may know Delaware is the state with the lowest average elevation, has over 300 miles of coastline and no Delawareans lives more than 8 miles from tidal water.
Of course it wasn’t all doom and gloom. A whole section of the presentation focuses on solutions—like reducing consumption and switching to renewable energy. I tried to tie in the solutions in the presentation with things we can do right here in DE and with some of the Chapter’s main conservation campaigns: wetlands protection, tar sands coming to Delaware City, fracking and our Beyond Coal efforts to get people to withdraw from MTR supporting PNC Bank (a few students said they would!!).
Overall I think the presentation went well, especially for a first try, and I ultimately even got an invitation to come back around Earth Day! Thanks so much to Katie and the rest of the Newark Nature Society. And a HUGE shout out to their wonderful science teacher, Bob McDowell who had already done the good work of informing the students about climate and energy problems and solutions. He even convinced the school to let him and his students turn an abandoned courtyard into a certified backyard habitat!