972 individuals from over 30 countries have joined The Climate Reality Project as leaders, having recently been trained by Al Gore in Denver, Colorado.
Over 2-4 March, in the first training of 2017 and the 34th on the overall, the message was clear: “We need to get active. Large numbers of passionate grassroots activists can make all the difference,” Gore emphasised to a packed convention centre.
Individuals, including three Australians, at the training join a community of over 10,000 people of all ages and walks of life pushing for action on climate change.
Paul Wilkes, a research geophysicist at CSIRO from Perth by day remains a concerned scientist by night. It was this that led him, and close to 3,000 others, to apply for the training.
As someone surrounded with the realities of climate change daily, Paul was “keen to learn more about how to get messages across without scaring people about the situation we have created”. Since returning home from Denver, Paul will continue to give talks throughout Perth with an updated international perspective.
In the decade of Climate Reality trainings, a focus on the science and impacts remains steadfast. A highlight for many trainees was a two-hour long panel facilitated by Don Henry, a Climate Reality board member and professor at the University of Melbourne.
Alongside Al Gore, Dr. Henry Pollack and Dr. Kevin Trenberth, the panel fielded questions varying from the future of battery storage for renewable energies to the most effective things Climate Reality Leaders could do upon returning home.
The trainings, which regularly rotate locations, continued to dedicate time to regional impacts, and the importance of localising the impacts, solutions and actions individuals can take.
La Vergne Lehmann, a veteran Climate Reality Leader first trained in 2007, knows this all too well. She returned to Denver to assist newly anointed Climate Reality Leaders in personalising their work upon returning home. As someone who works in the waste and resource recovery sector in regional western Victoria, La Vergne plans to connect her work to the impacts on climate change.
Beyond the science and impacts, a key focus of the trainings is the solutions possible, and how everyone has a role to play.
Glen Garner, based in Brisbane, has spent his career working with the energy and utilities sector to see these solutions being implemented. He continues his efforts by joining the “people power movement” to “changing the political tide and lifting the lid on the ignorance that believes there is no alternatives”.
Glen, La Vergne and Paul join a community of individuals working on climate change from across all sectors of society from farmers and emergency responders to educators and the business sector.
Apply to the next training in Washington state from June 27-29 here: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/training
This Week in Climate Change (formally The Week That Was), a weekly review of climate change politics, policy, innovation and science from Climate Reality Leader Andrew Woodward. @climatecomm