As a Climate Reality Leader, I couldn't be more excited about local Climate Reality chapters launching all over the country. I’ve spent the last 15 years working tirelessly to move people to act on climate change, and I’ve seen how one of the most effective ways to effect change is through collective action. When we work together, especially at the local level, we can leverage our individual passions and efforts to help solve the climate crisis.
I recently went back to college to study how to move people from learning about the impacts of climate change to taking action. I’ve learned that through social movement building, the power of collective action adds up. Grassroots efforts addressing issues such as climate change, immigration, farm workers’ rights, and Black Lives Matter are all inextricably interconnected. Climate justice is where these issues intersect and solutions can be found.
The beauty of Climate Reality chapters is that each chapter can determine which specific local issues, causes, events, and actions they want to tackle or support. Climate Reality has a variety of campaigns that chapters can pursue in their communities – and when more and more chapters work on these campaigns, these local successes ripple across the entire country.
For example, Climate Reality’s 100% Committed campaign to get cities, businesses, and universities to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity is underway in towns and cities across the US, and we’re working alongside initiatives from several other organizations also pushing for cities to go 100 percent renewable.
With Climate Reality chapters up and running, we’re able to bring this campaign to more and more communities. Plus, we can combine efforts with others already working on the issue to build local coalitions of social, environmental, and racial justice groups to support the campaign.
We’ve already seen success: My chapter in Bellingham, Washington, for example, helped with passing a 100 percent renewable resolution in the city.
Given the current “climate denying” political landscape, we know we can’t wait for the next election cycle to fight for climate solutions. We must act now to urge our local and state governments to take bolder action. Chapters provide the opportunity to engage local community members in this work.
Working together, supporting one another, and connecting with other chapters and their efforts has also been great fun. All of the chapters across Washington State, as just one example of many, have been working to put a price on carbon pollution through a statewide ballot initiative, I-1631.
I collected signatures to get I-1631 on the ballot and to inspire other chapters and members across the state to get involved. We succeeded in getting the initiative on the ballot, and I’m hopeful that the coalition-building we’ve done will show the broad support out there for climate-smart policy and that I-1631 will pass this November. I am thrilled with the support we received from Climate Reality and its founder and chairman, former US Vice President Al Gore.
Climate Reality supports its chapters in many ways, including monthly training webinars on topics like “Member Engagement” and “Chapter Recruitment,” so no chapter has to figure it all out on their own. There are also monthly calls for specific campaigns to provide updates, strategies, and inspiration.
Climate Reality chapters couldn't have arrived at a better time. We all know that it’s time to ramp up our collective activism, especially at the local level. We simply don't have much time on our side for the changes we need to keep carbon in the ground and out of the air.
Chapters provide us with a vehicle for growing the movement by reaching out and working with others, harnessing our local power to have a greater influence in our communities. Together, we have the ability to leverage a unique position in our communities to be a force for change – one reinforced by the reputation and impact that Vice President Gore has achieved.
He understands “people power.” Through citizen activism, Climate Reality chapters provide an amazing network and the opportunity to have an even greater impact. By working together, we can make positive and systemic change.
To learn more about Climate Reality chapters or to find a chapter near you so you can take climate action in your community, click here.