This piece was published by the Women’s Environmental Network in October, 2018. Please visit the group’s website to read more about its work.
Last month California Governor Jerry Brown hosted the Global Climate Action Summit(GCAS) in San Francisco. Thousands of believers in the urgent need to address climate change traveled from near and far to participate in official GCAS sessions (open only to the credentialed, but live-streamed for all), hundreds of official “affiliate” events, and even more side events.
With so much to choose from, participants planned their daily schedules the way some people put together fantasy sports teams—very strategically. I know this because I was calculating how quickly I could speed walk between events of interest. Information overload alert!
That’s why I welcomed the Women’s Environmental Network GCAS debrief at San Francisco Department of the Environment on September 24th.
How can I begin to capture what it’s like to spend two and a half days with 2,200 other Climate Reality leaders, trying to take in the deluge of information and absorb the accumulated knowledge and wisdom?
The world is on fire, or flooding. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch continues to expand. Environmental protections are being greedily stripped away. Sometimes it’s just all too much, and we go numb.
And sometimes humans are galvanized by an image, a story they can very much relate to. Such was the case this summer when an orca in the Pacific Northwest gave birth to a female calf, only to have her die within a half hour. The mother, named J35 by researchers who study this orca population, carried her calf’s lifeless body on her rostrum for 17 agonizing days as millions followed her story.