Climate Reality Leadership Corps training was outstanding. You should do it, too.
“I’m going over time, I know, but this is important,” Al Gore said several times during Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Las Vegas June 11-13. “I have something to say about this.”
Having the former vice president and founder of The Climate Reality Project go over the allotted time to share his seemingly limitless passion and knowledge about global warming and the resulting climate crisis was just fine with me. I can’t speak for the other 500+ trainees, but it seemed pretty O.K. with most of them, too.
Listening and watching Gore present his famous, ever-evolving, wake-up-call of a climate crisis slideshow, “The Climate Crisis and Its Solutions,” was an amazing experience in itself.
He was passionate, animated, funny, serious and crystal clear about climate change, its impacts and potential solutions.
His presentation, which he said evolves almost daily, was the basis for his films, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.” Multiple times Gore featured events that had happened just the day or week before to illustrate specific points.
But that was only the foundation of the weekend of training, sharing and networking and, frankly, it’s impossible for me to convey the camaraderie, energy and passion. I was just happy to be part of it.
The event also was packed with presentations and panel discussions among passionate climate advocates and activists. They included community and grassroots organizers, government agency representatives, nonprofit leaders, tribal leaders and scientists.
Topics ranged from centering justice in the fight against the climate crisis to grassroots action and inspiration, from what a just transition to clean energy needs to look like to how to influence climate policy making, and effective allyship with Indigenous peoples to building blocks for a people-powered movement.
Stories are powerful, too, so we heard about the climate journeys of many of the conference leaders, presenters and panelists.
Even the conference location was illustrative of climate change; unofficial high temperatures in Las Vegas June 11-13 were 110°F, 104°F and 97°F, respectively.
Conference leaders also took several opportunities to show solidarity with anti-gun-violence advocates protesting around the nation on June 11, 2022 for reasonable gun control legislation.
I learned a ton and met and listened to some absolutely amazing people who are doing incredible work in their communities.
The age range of trainees and presenters/panelists was impressive, too. The youngest was Lily Morse, executive director of the Green Schools Campaign, who is just 16, and at 74, I’m fairly certain Gore was not the oldest.
Highlights for me:
- Gore’s presentation.
- Listening to Crystal Huang, co-founder and CEO of People Power Solar Cooperative and national coordinator of the Energy Democracy Project. She struck me as a singular outside-the-box thinker, speaker and leader with a great outlook on what is possible if we allow our creativity to lead.
- Hearing the climate stories and wisdom of Indigenous leaders and activists.
- Being inspired by Morse, whose Green Schools Campaign “works to commit schools across the globe to a 100% clean, renewable energy transition by giving students the tools, encouragement, and support to directly lead this change in their own communities and combat the climate crisis.”
- Meeting so many other dedicated, passionate, smart and undeterred climate activists. Special shout-out to the Table 68ers; you know who you are.
- Just being among “my people.” Simply sharing a room with hundreds of others who care about the climate crisis, accept the climate science and are working for change – that was entirely new to me. While there’s a handful of dedicated local and state environmentalists here in North Dakota, it can still feel pretty lonesome. One can only hike into the headwinds (nearly) alone for so long without a recharge; activist fatigue and climate fatigue are for real.
- Being present for a performance by IN-Q of his poem, “One Little Dot.” It blew me away. Check it out (IN-Q’s TED talk).
- Last but not least, Gore’s message of hope. The good news, he reminded us repeatedly, is we already have all the technologies, processes and know-how to effectively address the climate crisis. Right now. We don’t need to wait for development of anything new to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere and change the future. We and our political leaders simply need to act.
Thank you to The Climate Reality Project for selecting me for Leadership Corps training. Thank you to all the presenters and panelists. Thank you to Jill, my Climate Reality mentor. And thank you to my fellow trainees.
Now it’s our turn; we have something important to say about this, too.
I am a volunteer Climate Reality Leader. Neither I nor the IV Words blog represents, is compensated by or is affiliated with Al Gore, The Climate Reality Project or the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.
I’m now able to deliver versions of the Climate Reality presentation. If you’re in Fargo, N.D. or within a reasonable distance and would like me to speak to your group, please let me know.
Featured image by Ryan Hafey via Unsplash.