On June 19, I received this email in my inbox.
“Invitation to The Climate Reality Project’s Climate Leadership Corps Training
Hi Valerie J.,
Congratulations! On behalf of The Climate Reality Project, we invite you to join our Climate Reality Leadership Corps at a unique training with Al Gore and 1,000 exceptional climate leaders like you. The training will take place this August in San Francisco, California.This training will bring together 1,000 passionate volunteers from around the world to equip you with the tools needed to engage communities and educate the public about climate change and how we can solve it. Our Climate Leaders are pivotal agents for change who are equipped with the tools and skills needed to win the conversation on the climate crisis.
During this training, you’ll participate in a full-day session led by Vice President Gore. You will also learn how to present your own version of the slide show about climate change — but it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also take part in sessions on using social media tools, dealing with deniers, public speaking skills, public narrative development and more.
At this training, you’ll learn how to teach people the reality about climate change and its impacts. You’ll be given the tools to help you motivate and organize your communities to come together to solve the climate crisis.We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!
Maggie L. Fox
President and CEO”
Anyone who knows me knows that I am firmly committed to promoting the science of climate change and sea level rise as our region is already experiencing the devastating effects from just the beginning of this however, ultimately, I did not accept this invitation. Why might you ask? for several reasons.
First, the training is free but transportation back and forth to San Francisco and hotel accommodations are not included. When I suggested that perhaps offering a few scholarships would insure that people with diverse backgrounds (think economic) would be prepared to speak well and intelligently to their audience(s) avoiding the possible stoppage of their engagement due to lack of funds such as myself, I received no response. Perhaps only those who are either willing or able to dig into their own pockets to be able to afford this arrangement are the target of this educational leadership process, the reality is that the poorest areas of the world will be the most affected which would seem to warrant training leaders in those areas considered to be the most threatened.
The second reason I decided not to attend is when I opened the link to learn more about The Climate Reality Project. I have a great deal of respect for Al Gore and what he has tried to do to bring an awareness of an ever increasingly urgent issue but the words “message” and “believe” indicate that I have a choice. I do not think that if I decided to believe in climate change it will matter one way or the other. To talk about deniers is in line with the idea of choice, however, it is clear we don’t. It is the science of what is happening and our choice if there is one, is to either prepare or not.
In the recent article by Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” he deals with the science of global warming. Global warming is not a new religion. Addressing three critical thresholds, if left unchecked, he describes an almost apocalyptic vision of a world so different from what we are accustomed to today, that we shrink away from facing that possible reality.
In an article recently released in the NY Times by Beth Gardiner, “We’re All Climate Change Idiots” she discusses the obvious science of what is happening to our planet and yet our almost collective reluctance to do more about it. Perhaps a read through by The Climate Reality Project would assist in getting more of the science out and remove some of the almost instinctual survival reluctance of people to see clearly what we might be up against. We are contributing to our own problems daily; we should be able to contribute to our own solutions as well.
“Hands Across the Sand” originated in Florida for good reason. In continuing with Bill McKibben conclusions from his article, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” he places responsibility for our escalating degeneration of the planet on the fossil fuel industry as a calculated business model. Floridians have had to repeatedly fight back interests that want to drill for what little oil and gas reserves there are along our environmentally fragile and unique coastline. So strong is the commitment to renewable energy and the environment, there are three separate actions planned for August 4 in Fort Lauderdale alone. Clearly, South Floridians who live in a geographic region on the forefront of climate change and sea level rise are beginning to understand that a “hiding our heads in the sand”” attitude will not suffice and we must make our problems become challenging opportunities leading the country in a model of self reliance, resilience and the reality that we must adapt and prepare for a changing world.
To get involved in a local action in your area, click here “Hands Across the Sand”. If there isn’t one, then consider starting one of your own. Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, welcomes creative and leadership thinking. You might want to check out his latest campaign of 20 cities in 20 days, more details to come.