“Be Nice, Be Kind, Be Respectful BUT Challenge Denial”!! – Al Gore
Last week, I had a life changing experience. A while back I was accepted into the Climate Reality Leadership Corps where I would embark on a 3 day training to become a Climate Reality Leader. I did not know what to expect at this convention except for the fact I would be trained by Al Gore on becoming a leader in climate change. I went in to this thinking I would learn a thing or two to help further me in my career; I never expected to become part of something bigger than myself. I joined a family of 122 other counties (22 different counties at this event) and thousands of other people who see the facts of life and realize that this is REALITY. In future posts I will talk more about the science, but today I would like to share my story; my experience.
I am not going to lie, I was extremely nervous for this event. Mostly because I did not know what to expect, we fear what we do not know and I was a classic case of this. I prepared as much as possible browsing my climate change books (an inconvenient truth and Al Gore The Future) and even dressed for success. I figured this event was more than a flannel and jeans type event- so I went outside my comfort zone of a flannel. Worked perfectly, it gave me the confidence to lead myself and lead for my work. A common question I was asked at the event was if I applied for pleasure or for work. I responded with Both, it was originally for pleasure but when I thought about it, it IS my work, it IS my passion.
Anyhoot, Day 1- WOW! I walked in, full of confidence ready to make a difference. Everything I had expected was surpassed with pure greatness. I received my recycled binder and 100% biodegradable name tag and table and went and started to mingle. A friend from a neighboring environmental organization also joined me so it was nice to have some familiarity there in IOWA! We started to mingle with who ever we passed talking with folks from all over the states and from different counties. The most familiar thing to me was the coffee…oh the coffee!!! Finally, it was about to start and I found my table. Sat down, but no one was there- eventually I went out to information to see if there had been a mistake, no mistake, rather no one from my table had checked in. So I politely asked to join the table of gentleman next to mine. BEST DECISION made!! Instantly I had 5 new friends all from different countries. I was the only one from the US, it was incredible. Incredible that they took the time to travel here and that they were not only representing Climate Change but they were doing it from other parts of the country; Nigeria, Canada, Pakistan, Brazil and Holland. If we want to address Climate Crisis at a serious level the globe needs to be on board! Through my three days I began to collaborate ideas and inspirations with these 5 men.
Now, I knew that Al Gore would be present for at least a speech sometime in the 3 days but as I looked at the agenda I realized he will be with us all 3 days! Leading up to leaving for the convention and explaining to folks about this and mentioning Al Gore I got the looks- and I always responded…”put politics aside, this man is an environmentalist of our time and his message and work is real”. As the Climate Reality president and director introduced themselves I was overwhelmed…but I had no idea what the presence of Al Gore would make me feel. When they introduced Al Gore and he walked out on stage, I was overwhelmed with complete joy and comfort. I sprung to my feet, hands rapidly clapping together with respect for what he is doing what he stands for; tears filled my eyes with happiness that I am about to be trained by a very influential person of my time. For the first day Al Gore went quickly through his 500+ slide show on Climate Change, going off on tangents and passionate stories. It was funny how after the fact when talking with others how sometimes a tangent seemed so absurd while he was talking and then BAM like a yo-yo he brought it back to his hand and it made complete sense.
I left that first day, having met handfuls of new folks, feeling empowered by the words of Al Gore and wanting to wake up early and start all over again. I remember calling back home and saying “I feel safe, I feel so empowered, I am in a room with others who think like me, and all having the same goal”. Truly an amazing feeling knowing that—
Climate Reality–Its the face of humanity–WAKE UP! #CRinIOWA