Janne Robberstad

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The Climate Reality experience

By spotogspindel | March 27, 2019

March brought with it a great adventure and one of the best courses I´ve attended: The Climate Reality Leadership Training in Atlanta, USA. This might be better known as former vice President Al Gore´s grass-root organisation of people advocating against global warming.

Over 2300 people were gathered in Atlanta to learn the latest on the state of the Earth. Three full days packed with knowledge, facts, empathy, connections, discussions, panels, lectures. The training was free (I paid for the hotel and travel myself, but the course was free, so if you think Mr. Gore is in it for the money…. no one is in it for the money, or glamour, when it comes to going green.) and the speakers were world-class.

Most of time was spent with the other participants from Scandinavia and Northern Europe, as it is relatively likely we will be working together again later on. We all have different background, different areas of expertise and different focus, but together we can all make our little contribution to the major change that will come.

The main topic of every Climate Reality gathering is global warming, though this event in Atlanta had a special focus on environmental injustice. And this is perhaps what moved me the strongest during these days, and certainly what I learned the most about. Reverend William J. Barber invited us to an ecumenical Moral Call for Climate Change in the old Methodist church of Martin Luther King Jr. It was a powerful session, with representatives from the faith-traditions of Jewism, Islam, Buddhism, Native Americans, just to mention a few. The message was clear: what is happening to the Earth, to the creation, it concerns us all, independent of faith, beliefs, cultures, traditions.

Rev. Barber was a very inspiring speaker himself, and he opened my eyes to the social indifference that is strengthened by global warming. I had heard of this, that global warming would affect those in traditionally highly populated, poor areas the strongest, but I thought this was mainly a geographical issue. However, visiting the States, un-denyingly a large country, we were presented with personal stories of environmental racism, of how a government actively chooses to move toxic waste from rich white populated areas, to low-income, mainly African-American, Native American or poor white neighbourhoods. Atlanta, with it´s own powerful history fighting for civil rights, was a  good backdrop for this theme. The day before the course started I visited the Center for Human and Civil Rights and was gripped to tears several times, while learning of the incredible injustice so many people were and still are being exposed to today.

Another inspiring highlight was meeting one of the Juliana plaintiffs, Levi D. If you haven´t heard of the Juliana plaintiffs, they are a group of 21 young people who are suing the US government to secure the legal right to a safe climate and a healthy atmosphere for all present and future generations. He was one of several young people participating at the conference, and they were all incredibly eloquent and passionate when talking about our common future.

I also attended a couple of workshops, with focus on more local issues. On the Friday there was both a meet-and-greet with people working in the same field as me (both education and arts), and a Climate strike, inspired by Greta Thunberg.

This is the whole extended Scandinavian delegation (including England and Netherland).

I pledge to do my utmost to make the world a better place for all creatures, to take climate action in my daily-life and to educate through my job.

Topics: conference, Diverse, sustainable, workshops | No Comments »

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