Lina, United States: professor in political sciences looking to get involved with local sustainable activities. Lisa, Austria: environmental scientist tackling climate change with one solar panel at a time in Amsterdam, eager to gain a perspective on how to have a global impact. Dina, Croatia: mum, GreenPeace volunteer and creator of the online Sustainable Community of Amsterdam, looking forward to meeting like-minded people and gain confidence. Cornelis, Netherlands: working at a consultancy firm and eager to learn how to reduce the carbon footprint for the company and make clients and suppliers realise the potential of sustainability.
These are only a few of the people that I met during the Climate Reality Leadership Training in Berlin: a hub of individuals coming from all over the world and from the most diverse backgrounds. There were students, businessmen and businesswomen, mothers, fathers, grandparents, educators, entrepreneurs. We were all in Berlin, determined to learn more about climate change and the ways we can contribute to raising global awareness on the threats and opportunities that it brings.
The Climate Reality Project is an organisation founded and chaired by Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore. The mission is to catalyse a global solution to the climate crisis by making prompt action a necessity across every level of society. The Climate Reality Leadership Corps is only one of the ways with which the Climate Reality is changing minds: 24 hours of Reality, international campaigns, US climate campaigns, 100% committed and the Climate Speakers Network are all initiatives that are carried out throughout the year around the world with the purpose to make a sustainable future a reality.
During three days, Al Gore, Ken Berlin and a team of world-class scientists, thought leaders and innovators, have intensively trained us to give powerful presentations on climate change, raise ambition, mobilise communities and build public support. We discussed the available pathways that could phase out coal in Europe, the impact of climate change on migration, and the future of European transportation. We experienced Al Gore’s presentation on the climate crisis; we learnt about the available solutions to reverse climate change; we were given the skills to become more effective communicators, and we drew inspiration from the stories shared with us by the other Climate Reality Leaders.
My key takeaways are:
- Despite political climate denial in some countries, the popular opinion is that something has to change and there is a rising number of initiatives trying to make communities more sustainable.
- We all have to push the boundaries of what is politically feasible.
- Countries need to develop or solidify their roadmaps to achieve their self-set sustainable goals. Activism is required to accelerate this process and persuade governments to increase the magnitude of the targets.
- Innovation is out there, although there are not enough incentives to support innovative and sustainable industries.
- We are still far from reaching the electrification of aviation and shipping; nevertheless research and testing are being carried out.
- Innovation in farming is showing incredible progress, making us all hope that we will end world hunger on a day not too far from now.
- We need to travel and eat differently: choosing electric transportation and following a plant-based diet would already solve most of the current global challenges.
- We need to urge our school, university, church, county, business and any other institution to sign and become 100% Committed.
- We need to share our knowledge with friends, family and local community, contributing to raising awareness on climate change.
- We can also push mayors and decision-makers all around the world to stop and start to drive down the right path to a better world.
- The SDGs provide us with a sustainable roadmap to a fair and just world: we have to push governments to follow them.
- Knowledge by itself is not enough: to make change happen, we also need to be passionate and committed to what we are trying to do.
The Climate Reality Leadership Training has been an excellent opportunity to learn and share with others views and perspectives on the climate crisis. I want to thank the Climate Reality Project team and all the speakers and mentors that made this training possible. A special thank to Marc Buckley for introducing me to this initiative and being the best motivator I know!