By: Jennifer Krischer
Climate Reality and Al Gore
At the end of August of this year, I had the opportunity to join the Climate Reality Project Corps Leadership Training at the Los Angeles Convention Center. What is the Climate Reality Project you ask? Well, you can read more about it here, but in 2006, shortly after the release of An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice President Al Gore founded the organization as a means of moving the conversation about climate change forward and creating a path to action.
Carbon Neutral Event Standards
This event was the largest training event the organization has put on thus far, with representation from over 20 countries. The organization worked to keep the event carbon neutral. They achieved this with a number of simple strategies like serving compostable vegetarian food with reusable plates and cutlery, handing out few items that could become waste, and responsibly recycling or disposing of anything that was left over or discarded, sending nothing to a landfill after the event. The organizers even calculated how much carbon needed to be offset by travel to the event by each individual attending, and accounted for that as well. In addition to all that effort, The Los Angeles Convention Center itself is a LEED-certified green building that generates most of (if not all of) its own energy and has a number of successful programs in place to reduce and divert waste and other resources. This conference certainly practiced what it preached.
Good Information from the Right People
For 3 days I had the opportunity to listen to experts in the field discuss our hope for the future. The program did not centere around the horrors of human impacts on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, there was some of that, but the real message here was hope and how we can still reverse some of the effects quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. We heard government officials, including our own Mayor Garcetti, discussing the policies that have found success. Scientists, professors, and researchers also discussed new things we have learned and how we can apply new technology to reduce our impacts. Young activists, still in high school, also took the stage to discuss the impacts they made when they spoke up about the problems in their own communities. Additionally, Mr. Gore spoke on a number of occasions, most notably giving his full slide presentation (over 2.5 hours) and his reduced 10 slide presentation, both of which paint a picture of the reality we face, but the true hope and optimism that we can make things better.
Attending Makes a Difference
The goal of this event is to train a room full of activists to become leaders. Nearly 3000 attendees are now prepared to give Mr. Gore’s 10 slide presentation to any willing audience. There were sessions on how to present, how to find your voice, and how to perform an act of leadership. I believe we all left the conference feeling inspired, hopeful, and excited to be in the audience for some of these amazing conversations. For anyone interested in attending the training, the organization holds 3 events annually, each time in a different location. I cannot recommend this enough!
If any LA based readers out there would like to host a discussion about the organization and the slideshow, please feel free to reach out to us through our website.