Dear EarthTalk: What exactly is Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and how does it work to train activists?
–Kelly G., Washington, DC
The Climate Reality Project is a non-profit launched in 2006 (it was originally called the Alliance for Climate Protection) by Nobel laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to address climate change following up on the release of his influential book and documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth. Climate Reality serves as the nerve center of Gore’s advocacy and education efforts to spread the word about the need to ratchet down our greenhouse gas emissions to stave off the cataclysmic effects of global warming.
Climate Reality’s primary focus right now is in training volunteer advocates—so-called “Climate Reality Leaders”—to go out into their communities and educate policymakers and members of the public about the need to take action to mitigate climate change while countering so-called “climate denial” efforts funded by oil companies and perpetuated by right wing think tanks. So far, some 12,000 individuals from 136 countries have participated in Climate Reality training events.
The primary tool these Climate Reality Leaders use to spread the word is a regularly updated slide show originally created by Gore in the late 1980s (and made famous by the 2006 film version of An Inconvenient Truth) that lays out the facts behind climate change — detailing example after example of human-induced global warming wreaking havoc by lashing low-lying areas with massive storms, killing thousands with blistering heat waves and turning human populations already marginalized by war and famine into migratory climate refugees searching for safer places to live — and provides information on real-world solutions that already exist around the globe.
Most recently, Climate Reality has supported the creation and distribution of the follow-up to an Inconvenient Truth, a new documentary entitled An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. The film, released worldwide in July 2017, follows Gore around the world, documenting how global warming is already ravaging the planet and showcasing solutions from every quarter that can inspire others to take similar action. Climate Reality is working to get the film in front of millions of viewers, as it did with the original film, in hopes it will inspire a new generation of citizen activists.
Another Climate Reality project, the 100% Committed campaign, helps cities, towns, businesses and ski resorts make the commitment to 100% renewable energy.
And come December, Climate Reality will host its annual “24 Hours of Reality,” a free, live-streamed multimedia event that features a different climate-related theme each year. Last year’s broadcast showcased action in the world’s top 24 greenhouse gas emitting countries, while the previous year’s version focused on the top 24 solutions globally in the lead-up to the Paris COP21 climate negotiations.
“When you talk, your friends and family listen,” reports Climate Reality. “That’s why it’s so important that every climate activist use their voice to spread the truth about the climate crisis.” Even those who haven’t attended Climate Reality event can download the free “I Am Still In” action kit which teaches people how to build support for clean energy and other climate solutions at the community level.
“There are many ways to use your voice, and whether you write a letter to the editor of your local paper or call your representative or talk to your neighbors, you can make a difference in sharing the truth and shaping public opinion right when your planet needs you,” concludes Climate Reality.