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Climate Reality in Istanbul

GUEST BLOG:

As promised in the last blog posting, climate activist Cara Augustenborg has written up some impressions from her meeting with “Climate Reality Leaders” from around the globe in Istanbul. Thank you Cara! Over to you:

At the Istanbul protest site between climate sessions

This week I had the honour of becoming a part of former U.S. vice president Al Gore’s global action on climate change, the Climate Reality Project. I now join over 5,000 other Climate Leaders from around the world in presenting the Climate Reality message, an updated version of Mr. Gore’s presentation from the 2006 movie, An Inconvenient Truth , to my community and anyone else who will listen.

Over 600 of us from 94 countries gathered in Taksim, Istanbul last weekend to receive training from Mr. Gore and the Climate Reality team and develop the necessary skills to bring a real understanding of the climate crisis to the world. It was a fitting location for so many environmental activists and educators to gather, given its proximity to the ongoing Occupy Gezi movement. As we equipped ourselves with the skills necessary to create action on climate change, Turkish protesters in nearby Gezi Park fought to win their own environment and democracy struggles. Many of us were caught in the middle of that struggle during the worst police clash last Saturday night. I’ll describe that frightening experience in an upcoming blog post on my own site.

Al Gore talking to us, thanks to fellow climate leader Hassan Abbas for the pic!

Our Climate Reality training lasted 2.5 days and covered everything from communication skills, climate impacts, and social media, but of course the highlight of the weekend was the chance to spend ten hours in Al Gore’s presence soaking up every morsel of knowledge he could give us in that time. As Vice President of the United States, Mr. Gore was often referred to as wooden and robotic in his speaking style, but when it comes to climate-related issues, he is far from either and his style sometimes resembles that of a Baptist preacher when he gets really passionate about a topic. The audience could not get enough of Mr. Gore’s enthusiasm and motivational words, and at times, I was moved to tears as he inspired me to do more to win the conversation” on climate change.

The scale of The Climate Reality Project is impressive. In a 2006 Today Show interview, Al Gore said he aimed to teach 100 people to give his slideshow presentation and spread the word on climate change. Seven years later, he has trained over 5,000 of us to help our communities to understand the connection between over-reliance on fossil fuels and our changing climate. By the end of this summer, we will be nearly 6,000 strong. Given the financial resources of the climate change denial industry, the unique grassroots approach of the Climate Reality Project is embracing a philosophy that the number of people fighting for a cause will win over the number of euros invested in fighting against that cause. In our own group of 600+ delegates, we certainly felt more empowered to enact change now, with our new support of a worldwide climate change “family”, than we did before we arrived.

If you have seen “Inconvenient Truth”, you already know a lot of the background to Al Gore’s presentation, but there was lots of new information he presented over the weekend that surprised me, particularly regarding new evidence on the impacts of climate change and some exciting ways that countries (particularly developing countries) are both mitigating  and adapting to climate change. I will be blogging about these issues on my own site  over the coming weeks and thousands of us are available to present the new Climate Reality message in person by booking a presentation in your own area through the Climate Reality website

“Occupy” site in Istanbul

 

Date

June 20, 2013 | 7:42 am

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