In 2012 I was trained as a Climate Reality Canada presenter and joined about a dozen Ottawa area climate leaders who’d been trained by Al Gore since his slideshow won an Academy Award in the form of An Inconvenient Truth (and helped win him the Nobel Peace Prize).
In 2013 another dozen people from Ottawa and environs went through the training, double that trained in 2012, emphasizing the growing awareness and commitment to the issue.
On September 10th local presenters are meeting and I’ve been invited to talk to them. Two of the points I’ll be making are:
- it’s important to get local content into their presentation
- it’s also important to give listeners something to do with the information
The package of slides that Al Gore uses give some emphasis to graphic and shocking pictures of the damage extreme climate events can cause. But these come from all over the world. I’m usually presenting to an Ottawa audience. Flooding or firestorm in “some other place” has impact, but when I tell people that climate change has already shortened the skating season on the Rideau Canal by 20% they know that it is already here and has an effect on them personally.
When I show them graphs of actual local temperatures that are consistent with warming trends globally they know Ottawa is part of the world and if it’s happening to the whole world, its happening to us too.
I’ll be offering to share my slides of these and other local highlights with other Climate Reality presenters. But I’ve also set up a Flickr group where people can upload images that emphasize local climate events with the explicit intention that they be free to use by Ottawa area Climate Reality presenters.
The climate crisis is such that we don’t want people to think they’ve “done something” by attending a Climate Reality presentation. So I always end my presentations with 4 things people can do:
- Use less energy – that’s always been the mantra but it doesn’t seem to be working – as local as your bus route
- Divest – your investments or your pension are likely invested in companies that make money selling oil, coal and gas -as local as your pocketbook
- Support a group – groups need your help – as well as Climate Reality Canada I give a lot of time to Ecology Ottawa as well as support 350 Ottawa and Citizens Climate Lobby – all with local presence
- Demand action by your local politicians – they want your vote, they go out of their way to meet the public, you can politely and respectfully approach them and tell them you care deeply about this issue – they say all politics is local, and it is when you look them in the eye and tell them your vote depends on their stance on this issue