Ten years ago, while I was leading climate strategy at Nike we invited Bill Bradbury, Oregon's then Secretary of State, to be a keynote a climate event. Bill had recently graduated from the Climate Reality Project, former US Vice President Al Gore's initiative to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis. 50 individuals, including Christiana Figures, made up this 1st cohort and Bill was on a mission to share this message with as many groups as possible .
Last week I finally signed up for the 3 day training in Seattle and joined Al Gore and hundreds of others who care about climate as a member of the 35th cohort to commit to becoming Climate Reality Leaders. While I’ve been working on climate change for over two decades this gathering freshened my personal focus and brought in the business perspective from WBCA as one of the local supporting partners.
The scale and quality of this event was, in my view, unparalleled, and I would recommend the training to anyone, from business leaders to grassroots activists, novice to seasoned, youth to elder. The level of detail in the presentations is stunning and the post event resources and support enabled by the Climate Reality Hub is really well executed.
Here are some hi- lights for me by the numbers:
800: delegates in attendance
30: countries represented
400: delegates from Washington state
12,500: number now making up the global Climate Reality Leadership Corps after the Seattle training
130: countries where Climate Reality Leaders are working
35: number of Climate Reality Project Trainings
0: cost of training for delegates
60: % of women delegates, the first time women were in the majority
40: Climate Reality Mentors who guided groups of participants over the three days
2 hrs: The duration of Al Gore's presentation, The Climate Crisis and Its Solutions.
10 minutes: The first time a 10 minute version of Al Gore's presentation is available to the general public. Called Truth in Ten it can be found here
7: My cohort from San Juan County that included 4 ninth grade girls and their science teacher
During the three days of the training there were presentations and speeches from policy leaders like Governor Inslee to grassroots activists and tribal leaders, all of whom had very compelling personal stories. Three separate panel sessions with experts focused on science, health and coalition building, the latter including Brenna Davis, chair of WBCA. Breakout sessions focused on turning awareness to action and helped participants with skills building around communications, presenting and contacting influencers. For the very first time there was an afternoon of direct local action incorporated into the program. This one focused on the Carbon Free PSE campaign, including options to gather signatures for a petition, participate in a town hall meeting with city, county and state officials, or write letters , prepare public testimony and engage deploy social media. In between sessions a group of WBCA members were making their voices heard in support of the WA Solar Jobs Bill and I'm happy to say that it finally passed.
The most poignant moment of the entire event for me was reuniting with Bill Bradbury, who was among the 800 delegates, and witnessing him receive the Green Ring Award for his services to the Climate Reality Project which includes giving over 500 presentations.
On July 28th Al Gore's new movie An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is released in new York and LA. We watched the trailer for the film, which can be found here, and were the first to see the new lyric video, by One Republic. I'm guessing there wasn't a dry eye in the house, and certainly not mine. Less than a week later the video has had over 1.3 million views.
Sarah Severn is the Strategic Advisor and Co-ordinator of Washington Business for Climate Action