This summer, the denial of climate change was overtaken by reality. It's too hot! We can no longer ignore the fact that human beings are making the planet hotter, and that it is happening to all of us, now. Once the reality sinks in, the next question must be: What can we do about it?
We need leadership. And if elected officials and governments are failing to lead, then all of us, everyday citizens, must step up to take their place.
That's why I was so excited to join one thousand individuals this week from around the world at our Climate Reality leadership training in Northern California. Together with our Chairman, former Vice President Al Gore, we trained them to share the reality of climate change as leaders who encourage their communities to take action.
These one thousand diverse, passionate, and extraordinary people will become the newest members of our Climate Reality Leadership Corps. And it’s clear we'll learn as much from them as they learn from us.
Our Climate Leaders are volunteers who work all over the world to share the truth about climate change. They come from all walks of life — with expertise in government, science, business, medicine, and countless other fields. They are trusted messengers who collaborate with their peers to make climate change part of the daily conversation everywhere.
To date, our Climate Leaders have given presentations to a total audience of 7.3 million people. Our 3,500 trained Climate Leaders worldwide include people like Jeunesse Park, who lives in Johannesburg and founded the group Food & Trees for Africa. People like Dong Sik Lee, an environmentalist who worked in the financial industry in Seoul. And Paul Rippey, who has travelled the world to speak about climate change from Uganda to Ghana, and from India to Switzerland. And so many more.
Among their many other acts of leadership, Climate Leaders connect the dots between the extreme weather where we live and the global reality of a warming climate. They work to discredit the well-financed and professional deniers who, in the face of all evidence, continue to ignore the reality of this urgent crisis. They are on the front lines of the movement to call on our governments to reduce carbon pollution now.
And this week, we trained a thousand more of them. They came from 46 states and over 60 countries, and each of them has an important perspective on how to strengthen the climate movement.
You can check our blog posts from this week as we shared the unique stories and training experiences of our newest Climate Leaders. They shared the insights we learned from this training on how to win the conversation on climate change — first in our own communities, then globally — as we move aggressively toward solutions. We can do no less.