From the 26th to 28th of June I participated in the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Berlin together with round about 30 Climate KIC Alumni. The training was given by no other then former Vice President and Nobel Peace Price laureate Al Gore with his NGO The Climate Reality Project. The organizations mission is “to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society” and their main path to achieve just that is by giving the tools and training for them to become leaders in their own countries and communities.
The training and tools are mainly focused on the iconic slide show many of you might know from the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Trained leaders (as 30 of us now are) will have this presentation as a basis for their work to bring more awareness to climate change all around the world. (If you have a group or community that could be interested to have a talk about climate change, let us know!) This 38th iteration of the training brought nearly 700 new people from 66 different countries to the Climate Reality Leadership Corps making them almost 15,000 worldwide.
To be honest, I had my reservations regarding the training. How climate change is discussed and dealt with differs quite a lot if you compare the US and EU. Will this approach work in EU countries? And coming from a background in renewables and being involved with climate change through my work with Protect Our Winters Germany (www.protectourwinters.de), will I learn anything new? So what did I gain?
In retrospect I would say a lot. Although I did not learn that much new regarding climate change, there were a lot of other things that will help me in the future. First and foremost the network of people you meet and engage with is truly diverse and inspiring. Especially working on German specific climate topics it was awesome to connect with so many activists. A great value also came out of the different workshops offered during the training. For me those focusing on communication skills and strategies around climate change were quite useful. And of course it was nice to meet all of those CKAA folks.
On another level it was an insightful experience to see how an organization such as The Climate Reality Project works. With our NGO we a are also trying to mobilize a community for climate action, in our case the winter and outdoor sports community. The training definitely gave some examples of how effective engagement can look like and maybe we are will be able to adapt certain strategies for our cause.
I will finish with what finished the training itself, the closing remarks of Al Gore. Besides being a good example of effective and successful rhetoric he left the crowd hopeful for the future and energized to get active themselves. Being such a vocal voice for the climate movement for so long definitely deserves respect and everybody I talked to was amazed by the amount of energy the now 70 year old Al Gore still brings to table, breezing to his 2,5 hour presentation without a sip of water. On the Climate Reality Project website he is quoted with the following: “The reality we now face implores us to act.” He is a prime example of that. Let us be as well!
P.S. If you love winter and outdoors as well and want to learn more about the work we do at Protect Our Winters, please feel free to reach out. Besides Germany we are active in the USA, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, UK, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. (email@example.com)