Just last night, I was just one of 1,200 people from countries all over the world who stood before former Vice President Al Gore, applauding with passion in our hearts and tears in our eyes, as we officially became Climate Reality Leaders.
Some were under the age of 10, while others were walking with canes. We were from all corners of the world, but we came together in spite of our differences for one purpose: to fight climate change.
With the addition of the newly inducted group who met in Miami this week, there are now over 9,000 Climate Reality Leaders worldwide who are working to educate and recruit others to help us stop climate change in its tracks. We are students, entrepreneurs, scientists, teachers, mothers, fathers, writers; But we are all connected by our love for our planet and the desire and passion to protect it from further destruction.
Founded by Gore in 2006, The Climate Reality Project is waging the war against climate change through education and recruitment. Each year, trainings are held around the world. When a friend of mine told me that she has applied and was accepted for the training in Miami, I knew I had to join her.
We attended a three-day training, where we sat through panels and presentations covering topics ranging from solar energy to successfully communicating the urgency of climate change.
We learned how to recruit others to join our mission, utilize on-and-offline methods of communicating our message, and organize events at which we can give presentations in our communities about climate change. The event featured incredible speakers ranging from sea level rise experts to award-winning journalists covering the heart-wrenching effects of global warming.
But with all of the incredible information that I learned, I feel that the most valuable takeaway from this experience is truly understanding the urgency of climate change. As I finally laid down in my own bed after a late flight home from Miami, my mind was spinning with Gore’s words, images of death and destruction as a result of extreme weather events around the world, and the incredible realization that climate change is more than a threat—it is a war.
This war is unlike any other in that humanity as a whole is both the tyrant and the victim. Climate change does not know race, gender, sexuality, social status, religion, or beliefs. Unless we take action now and change how humanity as a whole is living, climate change will continue to massacre all life on our planet until there is nothing but silence—not a single heart beat.
We cannot and will not just pick up and move to Mars. As Gore so wittily pointed out, we could not even evacuate New Orleans when we knew a hurricane was coming. There is no Planet B.
But it is not too late to save the future of humanity and all life on Earth. We have the solutions, such as solar energy, needed to win this war against climate change—and we are winning. Just as we won the fights for women’s, civil, and gay rights, we will win this war for life on Earth and the futures of our children and grandchildren.
As we approach the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference and an election year in the United States, this is a vital turning point. You are part of this victory.
Making a difference is as simple as demanding that our world leaders act on climate.