On March 2-4, 2017, the co-founder of Media4Green Dave Feldman attended the Climate Reality Project Leadership conference in Denver, Colorado. He became a certified Climate Reality Trainer along with his partner and co-founder, Mark Leisher. Read about his experience and what he learned at this Climate Change training event, hosted by Al Gore.
In 2006, Vice President Al Gore filmed a powerpoint presentation about climate change – not a typical formula for a blockbuster movie – and introduced the world to a future that was evolving. Earlier this month, he was the lead trainer at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps in Denver Colorado, in advance of his new movie, An Inconvenient Sequel.
I took this three-day course to become better educated about climate change for my work at Green America and Media4Green. I always believed in climate change but wanted to understand the trends, science, and solutions at a time we need to be forward thinking and proactive.
The Climate Reality Project, founded by proceeds from An Inconvenient Truth, has trained 11,000 people in 130 countries. This is a significant force of folks dedicated to helping address issues of climate change and this team is expanding all the time.
I and 972 newly certified individuals are now part of this network. Contact either me or Media4Green co-founder Mark Leisher, if you want more information or for us to give a presentation.
At our training, we heard from many speakers including Al Gore and:
Bill Ritter – Former Colorado Governor and Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University
Dr. Henry Pollack and Dr. Kevin Trenberth – Climate change science experts (Pollack and Trenberth)
Kevin Klein – Director of Colorado’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Leah Greenberg – One of the co-founders of Indivisible
Jules Kortenhorst – CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute and trained Climate Reality Leaders
Here are just a few examples what I learned:
Temperature is rising – Extreme temperatures have been increasing worldwide and have been breaking records on every continent.
16 of the past 17 hottest years on record have been since 2011. 2014 was the hottest until 2015 which was hottest until 2016. On July 31, 2015, Iran had a heat index of 165 degrees!
Extreme weather patterns are increasing – This is occurring because the environment in which storms form has changed.
Downpours, for example, are getting bigger. There have been seven 1,000 year flood events in the U.S. alone since May 2010. On July 30, 2016 Ellicott City, MD was one of these 1000 year storms receiving 6 inches of rain in 24 hours. On April 18, 2016, Harris County Texas received 240 billion gallons of rain, the equivalent of all the water from Niagara falls pouring into Houston for 3.6 days.
Droughts are on the rise – Droughts not only lead to wildfires and heatwaves but dramatically impact our natural systems.
Pine Beetles for example, the main culprit for forest devastation – are reproducing twice a year instead of once. And in parts of the western U.S., an average fire season now lasts 105 days/year longer than in the 1970s.
What I found most striking: the broad range of impacts climate has on society.
For example, climate change can alter rainfall, influence crop yields, affect human health, increase infectious diseases, cause changes to our water and other ecosystems, and even impact our energy supply. The impacts affect many sectors of our economy and many people worldwide.
So, can this be depressing? Yes, but there are many reasons for optimism. Renewable energy is on the rise and projections say usage will continue (in 2016, $58.6 billion was invested in clean energy in the U.S.)
The current political climate is not supportive at the federal level but is much better at the state and local levels. And, people are organizing across all society – citizens, policy makers, and businesses – to mitigate climate change and accelerate our transformation to a sustainable economy.
I believe this is an issue that is solvable.
The amount of optimism in the room was palpable because there are many different kinds of solutions available today and new ones in development. Each one of us has important decisions to make: choices to change the things we buy, the energy we use, the cars we drive. If determined enough, we can bring our individual carbon emissions to zero.
I believe that climate change is truly an overarching issue for all of us, as it literally impacts every single country, business and person on the planet. It will have an impact on all the other issues that you care about as well.
There is now a team trained to provide these Climate Reality presentations in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia as well as locations all across the world. The presentation can be modified for any amount of time and can shared in almost any situation.
Several leaders are now available to share this information at businesses, neighborhood gatherings, schools, civic groups or online. We intend to make these presentations and incorporate some of the content in our projects. Call me for more details.
As former Vice President Gore says in An Inconvenient Truth “Climate change is really not a political issue, so much as a moral one.” Let’s act now before irreversible damage is done.