Several months ago I had the opportunity to attend a Climate Reality Training with Vice-President Al Gore. A life-changing experience that has provided purpose and motivation in this overwhelming crisis.
So I choose to use my 1 flight a year to travel to Minneapolis; and learn more from the man himself that has played such an important role in raising awareness about Climate Change. During the training we got to experience the full power of a three hour ‘show’ by Mr. Gore himself; I was moved by the personal stories from people on the front lines; and inspired to meet and see so many people that are dedicating their lives to this battle. By now there are over 20.000 trained Climate Reality Leaders, who are spreading the message about this Crisis.
When dealing with the Climate Crisis it can be easy to feel overwhelmed; and be stopped in your tracks. What is so powerful about this network that it shows that you are not alone in this battle. During the event itself there were literally hundreds of people in the same fight, while worldwide we are talking about million of people that are working alongside each other. The crisis cannot be solved by one person, and it is important to realize that you are not alone in this.
There were presentations from Native Americans who have been successfully battling the fossil fuel companies for decades, showcases from communities that have achieved great successes in stopping fracking all over the USA, and personal stories of people that have been highly affected by the consequences of Climate Change and the actions they are taking.
Spread the Message
For me the most vital take-away from the training is the importance of spreading the message. We have known about Climate Change since the 60’s; it has been unequivocally proven since the 70’s and most of the decision makers have known about it since the 80’s. The science has been crystal clear for decades; but there is still a lot of confusion about what is going on (thanks to billion-dollar lobbying).
So what can we do to help solve the Climate Crisis? Well, one thing is to simply talk about it! Talk about it with your family, your friends, your colleague’s. This crisis will affect each and every one of us. No matter who you are, how much money you have, or where you live, you will be affected by the Climate Crisis. So in a way it is very strange that we hardly ever talk about it. Mr. Gore has been showing for over 8 years how important it is to open the conversation, and have a fruitful discussion about how we can solve this together. It is about having open conversations about a crisis that we are all facing. We all want clean air, drinkable water and a stable climate. It is time to stop getting bogged up in politics. and coming together to solve this.
Since the training I have been giving (free) presentations about the Climate Crisis that we are facing, and how we can all be part of the solution. I talked to student groups, business people and young professionals. And even though they all have a different take on the subject, everybody quickly realized they are in it as well. And by being in it, they can also be part of the solution. We all have a role to play, no matter how big or small. And regardless your political or religious beliefs, we all want a safe planet to live on.
I have been actively involved in the Climate Reality Network. During my (train) journey in the USA I have met other Climate Reality Leaders in Portland, San Francisco, Washington DC and New York. It is a great way to dive straight into the local politics and see the great work people are already doing. Within a day I was usually able to meet up with some people that could tell me more about successes so far and what they are planning to do. It is amazing to see what people all around the USA are doing.
But the network does not stop there; just as the Crisis we are facing, the network is all over the world. So since I have been back in Europe; I have been meeting with other CR-leaders all over the place. This led to a great business-event in the Netherlands; and gave me the opportunity to meet Al Gore during COP25 in Madrid.
Climate Reality Presentation
So what is this presentation all about? Well, you might have seen a thing or two in ‘An Inconvenient Truth‘, the famous movie starring Mr Gore. And even though most of the science in that movie was already correct, the presentations is being updated every few months. So it represents the latest science; and pictures of events happening all around the world. During the presentation you will dive deeper in the reasons why we need to change; then if we can actually change and in the final step we will looked closer whether we will actually do it. The presentation varies from about ten minutes to a full three hours (if you are Al Gore); even though my favorite format is about 30 minutes long with a Q&A at the end.
If you would like to learn more about the presentation feel free to reach out to me. I am more than happy to give the presentation on location, whether that in a school, a university, a sports club or a business. The presentation is suitable for people from any level, whether you know nothing about Climate Change or have been active in it for most of your life.
As you might have noticed during the first paragraph; I am trying to keep my flying to an absolute minimum. A flight from Europe to Minneapolis results in a lot of CO2 emissions that add to the problem of Climate Change. In order to ‘mitigate’ parts of these negative effects I have offset my emissions, extended my stay in the USA to two months and making the most of my flight; and also taking the training very serious and using this privilege to spread the message about Climate Change. The event itself was carbon neutral and hosted in a LEED-certified building.
But in the end this still results in emissions; which is exactly the argument why we need to change our system. No matter how hard you currently try, our society does not give us the options to live according to the planets limits. We live in a system that still works and operates on fossil fuels, and we urgently need governments and large cooperation to step up and do their part. Putting the blame on the individual is a tactic to prolong the changes that are needed. So don’t shy away from making changes yourself; but put most your effort in changing the system.
About the event
This part is intended for people that are interested in joining the Climate Reality Project; so you know a little bit more what to expect. Feel free to post comments if you have any questions.
The Climate Reality network consists of a large, professional organization, lead by Vice President Al Gore. They have now been doing this for over 8 years, and the network has over 20.000 members all over the world. The events themselves are very well organized and hosted in LEED-certified buildings. Vegetarian lunch and snacks are provided, but you will have to arrange your own accommodation. If your budget is tight you could try and reach out to local CR-leaders in the host city to see if they can offer a place to sleep.
As an event can host up to 1200 people, you are divided into small groups (10-14 people) with your own Mentor. Each mentor has been through the training themselves and have extra experience in the field. The groups are split up by region, so that you already have a network once you get home. There are usually 4 events per year. Even though is it not a set rule, there usually seem to be 2 in the USA, while the other 2 events are spread around other continents. The last few years we have seen events in Berlin, Atlanta, LA, and Tokyo. In 2020 all 4 events will be hosted in the USA, largely due to the US elections. You can apply already for the next event in Las Vegas!