Let’s be honest: it hasn’t been the easiest December. Between the prospect of a US government run by climate deniers on one hand and the prospect of maybe too much quality time with the family coming up, most of us could use some real reasons for hope.
So how about millions?
Because on December 5-6, millions of people all over the world joined former US Vice President Al Gore and a star-studded cast for the global broadcast of 24 Hours of Reality: The Road Forward. And when you’re competing with Peak TV on demand (and the likes of The People vs. O.J. Simpson) for people’s time and attention and a 24-hour long program about how we can solve the climate crisis gets over 30 million views online and reaches some 225 million households, it tells you that no matter what’s happening with the incoming US president, the hunger for climate solutions is stronger than ever.
With 24 hours of eye-opening conversations and stories of progress from 24 countries, The Road Forward covered a whole lot of ground. So if you weren’t able to catch all of the broadcast – or like us here at Climate Reality, had to sleep for a little while – below are six amazing highlights from this year’s 24 Hours of Reality. These are just a few of the inspirational stories of action and dedication featured on The Road Forward. To see more, check out the full broadcast at 24hoursofreality.org.
Climate Reality Leader Nita Gangula combined her passion for writing with her concerns about the climate crisis in her children’s book, Poly Trap, hoping to inspire a new generation of environmentally conscious young Indians.
“Children are our future,” Gangula said. “If this generation learns to reduce and reuse garbage, then the next generation will carry that forward.”
“We go to places where government agencies don’t go. A lot of these families are isolated, living far from any paved roads, so they lack public services like plumbing and access to the electrical grid,” Andrés Francisco Cruz, an installation technician with solar provider Iluméxico, explained. “So we try to get to them and change their lives.”
And Iluméxico has done exactly that, using the power of the sun to light up homes, schools, and health clinics in rural Mexico and transform the lives of more than 30,000 people (and counting).
Voices from Germany
Climate Reality Leader Manfred Wolf believes the sun is all we need to solve the climate crisis. Wolf’s father was a nuclear power engineer, so he was particularly affected by the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl, the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. He took from the incident a particular zeal for seeing nuclear power replaced as a major energy source by solar – so much so that he coined the phrase “solarteur” for himself and the other solar installers he helps train.
Forget Silicon Valley (for a moment). Some of the most exciting and innovative work on climate solutions is coming from places like the Beaufort Dairy Cooperative in France. If this farm high up in the mountains can harness the biogas from the leftover whey from cheese production and convert it into electricity, there is no reason each of us cannot seek out unique ways to do our part, too. Whey to go, indeed.
Voices from Nigeria
David Michael Terungwa lives in Nigeria, one of the countries that is consistently rated amongst the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Having trained as a Climate Reality Leader in South Africa in 2014, Terungwa believes that everyone has a role to play in solving the climate crisis, right down to getting out there and getting your hands dirty planting fruit trees.
Turkey’s Turbines: A New Frontier
Turkey has long relied on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas to power its economy. But with huge potential for wind energy, the country is beginning to embrace renewable alternatives. Turkey’s biggest wind power project is the Soma Wind Park in Manisa Province, where 169 turbines not only generate electricity, but provide careers and a future to be proud of for local residents.
In a region already experiencing devastating heat waves and where regional conflicts and migration have been made worse by the climate crisis, it’s inspiring to see a country take its first steps toward energy independence and a cleaner, more sustainable tomorrow.
Stories like these tell us the movement is strong and marching forward in spite of the challenges we’ll face from the next president here in the US. Now, help us keep this progress going and build on the success of the Paris Agreement by becoming a Climate Reality Leader.
Climate Reality Leaders are an extraordinary group of people from around the world that are unified around the same cause, spreading the truth about climate change and inspiring action on the climate crisis. The Chairman and Founder of The Climate Reality Project, former US Vice President Al Gore, trains Climate Reality Leaders to educate others about climate change and tackle the crisis head on. There are now over 10,000 Climate Reality Leaders in more than 135 countries educating their communities about the climate crisis.
Our next Climate Reality Leadership Corps training will take place in Denver, Colorado on March 2-4, 2017. Apply now!