Stephanie gets trained on climate change by Al Gore
By Stephanie Herron
In the last week of August I travelled to San Francisco, CA to join about 900 “Climate Leaders” to be trained by Nobel laureate and former VP Al Gore. Mr. Gore and a host of other VIP’s spoke to the urgency of the climate crisis, what we can and must do and just how to talk to regular people about both.
This was Al Gore’s 21st training for Climate Reality Project (formerly The Climate Project). 47 States and 58 countries were represented! I met awesome people from Ghana to Australia.
The first day was about communication. After introductions by Climate Reality Project CEO Maggie Fox we watched a presentation on Social Media by. Grammy Award winning country music star and former CRP Trainee Kathy Mattea closed out the evening. She offered us her personal “Coal Story”. Kathy showed us how to personalize the climate message through her own life and redefined the idea of “conversation” with a beautiful song.
Day 2 was all about Al. We were privileged to share the entire day with Mr. Gore. The rest of the day he went through the talk in great detail. There were opportunities to discuss in smaller groups at our tables and to ask Mr. Gore and climate scientist Dr. Michael MacCracken specific questions during Q&A sessions. The questions ranged from Sea Level Rise to Natural Gas to Population and were all answered very thoroughly, understandably and often with a touch of humor to lighten the extremely serious mood.
There were 2 things that every speaker or presentation had in common. All of them incorporated a message of hope. It is a gloomy topic this Climate Change thing, especially today, when all the science says we’re facing a tipping point and we’re seeing the tragic consequences all the time. Even as I write this, on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast is being pounding by Hurricane Isaac. Devastating Hurricanes in August did not use to be the norm.
It’s easy to get caught in the hardship of climate reality but we know that we have the solutions and the power to stop this thing if we all just work together. Mr. Gore talked about balancing hope with despair and even seeing this challenge as an opportunity that no generation has had before, to change the fate of the world for the better.
The other thing that speakers acknowledged time and again was that the presentation was very “US-centric” and focused a lot on responding to skeptics. The participants from other countries found this odd and wanted to focus on solutions. As Kemal, my table-mate from Indonesia (and many others) pointed out, there is no large scale denial of Climate Change in other countries-many of them are feeling the disastrous impacts of drought, famine and flooding right now.
The wind http://youtu.be/2mTLO2F_ERY
Troy Library: http://youtu.be/AoT13m8-Kxo