“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and organize.” Al Gore (Photo above provided by Climate Reality Project)
The 3-day Climate Reality Leadership training I just attended in Atlanta, Georgia has lit a fire of motivation and provided the impetus for me to share my own journey to reducing my carbon footprint. Over the course of those three days at the training, my cohort of 2000+ attendees heard from scientists, community activism leaders, inspiring youth, and of course Al Gore (or AG as someone referenced him as on day 3).
I came away with a lengthy list of things I can do to spread awareness about the climate crisis and, in some small way, instigate changes. I went to the training because I’ve been teaching about climate change for nearly a decade now and every year I feel more pessimistic about the direction we are going. I needed some hope and motivation. I certainly got it.
I was also happy to see that most food served was vegan (everything was vegetarian, but it would have been nice to go 100% vegan...a plant-based diet is one of the most important actions an individual can take) and served on real plates with real silverware and real cloth napkins. Reducing waste was a major goal of the organizers and an important model for the attendees. The total carbon footprint for the training was calculated and offset.
It was my first visit to Atlanta. I ate at a great vegan restaurant, Herban Fix. I highly recommend it if you are in that area. I was happy to find it was only a 10 minute walk from my hotel. The training was located in the World Congress Center, which was about a 20 minute walk from my hotel in the other direction. I was happy to not have a transportation carbon footprint for a few days (minus the flight of course, and that was a big one! I decided to offset my own flight using www.carbonfund.org.) I didn’t have a lot of time for sightseeing, but I did manage to visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The experience was emotional to say the least. The staff there were great. One woman asked me if I was doing ok and gave me a hug.
One thing that really struck me about Atlanta was the prevalence of electric scooters everywhere. Literally everywhere. Left in the middle of sidewalks. Randomly strewn about parks. Sometimes parked neatly off to the side.I love the idea of people being able to use a lower impact form of transportation and that it is readily available, but stepping over scooters as I was walking down the sidewalk threw me off a bit.
Disclaimer: the views I express in this blog are mine and are not representative of the Climate Reality Project.