This piece was published in the December, 2019 newsletter of the Bay Area Chapter of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. This year, rather than Mr. Gore hosting a day-long broadcast of reports from around the globe on the climate crisis and how it can be solved, he challenged Climate Reality Leaders everywhere to present at least 1,000 of the CRP slide shows for which the he and the organization are known.
In fact, we blew that number out of the water on November 20-21, 2019. A proud graduate of the 2018 Los Angeles training, I attended a unique presentation event in San Francisco and penned a brief description of it for the newsletter. It was my first time live-tweeting, a role the Project specifically requested of us, and that was a fun and interesting experience!
It’s not surprising that our chapter’s participation in 24 Hours of Reality last month was a success; it’s how we roll. The event I attended in SF at the marketing agency Kiterocket was a unique, four-hour exploration of how some CRP leaders view the promise and challenge of how we share Mr. Gore’s message. It was a small but mighty group of thoughtful CRP leaders and others.
Our dynamic and generous host was Deborah Knuckey (LA, 2018), Kiterocket’s Managing Director of Renewables. And while I (LA, 2018) didn’t present, I did live-tweet the event while also taking notes for this recap.
First up was Dr. Robert Root (Atlanta, 2019), Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Child Mind Institute. His presentation focused on the health impacts of climate change, with special emphasis on the threats to young bodies and minds. This approach resonates deeply with him, unsurprisingly given his profession.
Knuckey leaned on her communications know-how to focus on the ‘Will we?’ aspect of our message. She identified six examples of ‘climate confusion messaging’ used to derail fact around the crisis, suggesting antidotes for each. She invited us into the conversation and shared her three keys to keeping the scales tipped toward reality in our external discussions – evidence, empathy, and action.
Elizabeth Bagley (Seattle, 2017) is the California Academy of Science Director of Sustainability. She arrived energized from having attended the Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference in Sacramento, sharing a message around how to identify which actions to take by asking: 1) Which have impact? 2) Which have momentum? and 3) Which are feasible? We also geeked out on some innovative websites she shared; check out Cool Climate Network.
Andy McClure (Atlanta, 2019) works in business development and brings that perspective to his presentations. His goal is to inspire businesses to adopt climate change mitigation initiatives. It’s not unheard of; the climate action nonprofit We Mean Business represents companies with $20.1 trillion in market capitalization. “Climb into the conversation already going on in their minds” is how he suggests business be brought around to the climate action way of thinking.
Two other CRP leaders, Alma Soongi Beck (Atlanta, 2019) and Teron McGrew (LA, 2018) spoke enthusiastically about their participation in the People of Color and Indigenous People’s Climate Solutions Reading Group, which Beck co-founded. It meets monthly and seeks to give voice to people historically left out of many conversations, including those around climate justice.
I loved this event because folks had the opportunity to share ideas and brainstorm around how to best communicate the need for change, despite the daunting challenges of fighting the climate crisis.