In 2007, I had the honor and the privilege of training with Al Gore to become a Climate Reality leader. These 3 days changed the direction and future course of my life. My 2007 training was one of the first 6 trainings of the newly formed Climate Project (now Climate Reality Project) and all of these took place in Nashville, Tennessee. These first trainings were all conducted by former Vice President Al Gore – as have all subsequent trainings. One thousand people in total were trained in these six separate events over the course of Climate Reality’s inaugural year.
In October 2017, I was a mentor in Pittsburgh, PA where we trained 1400 climate leaders in 3 days; our largest training to date. In Pittsburgh we trained more people in 3 days then were trained in six trainings over our entire first year! From August 27-30th I have the honor once again of being a mentor at our 39th training in Los Angeles where more than 2000 new Climate Reality leaders from all across the USA and the world will be join our Climate Reality Family. We will surpass 17,000 in numbers. Wow!! The scale of this training while be a new and exciting experience for us all. To accomplish this feat, 120 Climate Reality leaders will return as mentors. Our trainings could not take place without our mentors who welcome our trainees pre-training and then help our newly trained leaders as needed, over the next year. Some trainees need more support then others, and our mentors are there to help when and as needed.
While certainly larger in scale then the 2006/7 trainings, I know that at our LA training the same hopes for our future and now will be strengthened and reaffirmed, new friendships and life long bonds will be forged, and a fierce determination to succeed will be enshrined in all. As extreme weather continues to hammer California, we could not be meeting in a better place or at a better time to talk about the climate crisis and to come away with concrete plans for creating a livable future for us all.
It’s not easy logistically to train so many people at one time. The staff, the experts, and the mentors each contribute to creating a unique event, filled with long days of learning, networking, and discovery. Your head and your heart are made to hurt; nothing is held back about the gravity of the situation we face and the urgency of the crisis before us. Yet, no one wants to leave when the three days are up. To be in a room surrounded by so many people who are like you in so many ways is truly a life-affirming event. On the surface it seems everyone is so different, coming from diverse backgrounds and different locations around the country and around the world. Yet, we all share the hope and the belief that we can and will re-build our home; that a livable, healthy, and safe world can and will be a reality for us all and for our children, and their children. We all know it won’t be easy and that time is not on our side.
At our Pittsburgh training in October 2017 I was awarded the Green Ring, which is given “to an outstanding Climate Reality Leader who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to their role as a climate communicator and activist. ”
I am so incredibly proud and honored to be the recipient of this very, very special award. Yet I know without a doubt that it could have been given to any one of the other 1400 people in the room, or the more then 14,000 Climate Reality Project leaders, not in Pittsburgh with us, who help to make up our Climate Reality family. I am fortunate to work with so many inspiring people. We aren’t giving up, we have our eyes wide open and yet we still believe we can and we will win against this existential threat we face from our changing climate and ourselves. Together we are unstoppable!
With love and gratitude to all our Climate Mamas and Papas. A special thanks to my Climate Reality family – for strengthening my commitment and fortifying my resolve – we will succeed because we must. I will continue to live each day by our Climate Mama Motto: “Tell the Truth, Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Don’t be Afraid.”
Stay tuned and consider joining us for our next training. The date and location haven’t been announced yet, but if you sign up now, you will be one of the first to learn about it when it is announced.
Also, put December 3 and 4th on your calendar and save the date! Tune in to 24 Hours of Reality, which this year will explore the many ways fossil fuels and climate change threaten human health all around the world and highlight how together we’ll solve this crisis. With the United Nation’s climate negotiations starting the first day of the broadcast, we’ll call on world leaders to address the climate crisis by increasing their commitments in the Paris Agreement and turning promises into practical solutions at home.