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Climate Curious Crowd Descends Upon Denver
New community leaders emerged when Vice President Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project held their largest training yet, thanks to a new sense of urgency
Denver, CO – As a regional outreach campaign manager with the National Wildlife Federation, I’ve worked since 2011 to engage volunteers and activists from the Rockies around solutions to the climate crisis. But my journey really took off in August, 2013 when I was fortunate enough to be trained as a Climate Reality Leader in Chicago. Starting in 2006, after the success of his award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice President Al Gore began training volunteers on how to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis to people everywhere. Since leading his first training of just people 50 in his Nashville barn, Gore and his Climate Reality Project (CRP) have grown exponentially, and have now trained more than 11,000 leaders around the world in just a decade.
My training gave me access to a network of other leaders all over the country, who were committed to organizing acts of leadership in their communities, such as giving educational presentations, lobbying elected officials, mobilizing around EPA hearings, and many other forms of activism. I’ve continued to stay involved with Climate Reality and have subsequently been honored to mentor new trainees at 3-day training sessions in Des Moines, IA (2015), Miami, FL (2015), and Houston, TX (2016). I also had the great fortune to volunteer for CRP during the UN Climate talks in Paris, 2015.
For me, the Denver Training (March 2-4) couldn’t have come at a better time. 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded, succeeding both 2015 and 2014 for that dubious honor. This unprecedented warming coincided with a new Administration and leadership in Congress that continues to ignore warnings from the scientific community and aggressively roll back common-sense, popular solutions like the Clean Power Plan, while attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and initiatives.
Apparently, citizens from across the US and the world have been newly energized around pushing solutions to the climate crisis, as 970 new trainees descended upon the Colorado Convention Center in March – making it the Climate Reality Project’s largest training to date.
While making his presentation, tailored to the Rocky Mountain states, Gore asked three salient questions:
1) Must we solve the climate crisis?
2) Can we solve the climate crisis?
3) Will we solve the climate crisis?
As for question number one, Gore walked us through a number of convincing slides that reveal the extent to which our warming climate is already impacting life around the world; including rising seas, extreme weather, melting ice caps, heat waves, and drought. Regarding question two, he showed us that we have all the technology we need right now to curtail carbon emissions, including electric cars and clean energy sources like solar and wind. Question three is the trickiest of all, because it requires diligent cooperation from every country in the world, to stick to their contributions to the Paris Agreement and continue to address the challenges we are faced with. However, the Denver training experience gave me enormous hope. I feel that we are building an army around the world to confront this crisis head-on. This training also afforded me one of the biggest honors of my career: when I was able to appear with Mr. Gore and three of my mentors to talk about our journey as Climate Reality Leaders.Act for the Climate Plan