This is a post from Sriya Potham, ACE Chicago Media Team Member and a student at Adlai Stevenson High School.
A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to attend the Climate Reality Leadership conference, hosted at the Hyatt hotel in Chicago. Getting up at 5 to commute to Chicago and spending over 8 hours a day at a hotel and getting home was a daunting task, but being able to say that I heard and learned from Al Gore made it more than worth it.
The conference lasted 3 days, with over 1,400 people in attendance from all over the world, including all 50 states. The diversity of these climate warriors was astonishing. Even though stopping climate change may seem like a daunting task, I saw that week just how many people are working to save our planet. It was inspiring!
The first day, we were taught how to use Climate Reality resources to educate the public about the state of the environment and how to speak to a huge crowd. The following day, Al Gore taught us how to use and customize his presentation from An Inconvenient Truth. On the last day, we broke into workshops detailing various aspects of the climate crisis, and learned about how we can use social media to create change. My workshop covered how climate change is making our weather go crazy.
The Climate Reality conference was an amazing experience; I made a ton of friends from all over the world who are just as passionate as me! Below of some of the lessons I took away.
- Speak Up
One theme of the conference was to “win the conversation”, meaning don’t let climate denial go unchallenged. When you hear something that you know is blatantly wrong, enlighten the person while using cold, hard facts. Use social and traditional media to get the word out. Reality Drop is a website started by Climate Reality to help give you the science to challenge deniers with.
- Deepen Your Commitment
- Make consumer choices to reduce your energy use. Use a reusable water bottle, don’t eat red meat, and use LED’s. Thinking about the environmental impact of the items that you buy helps. Every little change creates a movement.
- Don’t Give Up
Changing lightbulbs isn't the only thing that you can do; you can help change laws too. Telling your leaders about what matters to you, and why it matters will help make a difference.